art

Mount Wachusett Community College student Julia Van Houten is pictured with one of her drawings at the opening of a juried art show at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck in Gloucester, MA.

Mount Wachusett Community College student Julia Van Houten is currently displaying three of her drawings in a juried show featuring 11 artists at the Rocky Neck Art Colony in Gloucester.

The selective art show is a first for the 19 year-old Van Houten, who is from Jaffrey, NH. She had been looking at different competitive art shows to submit to when she found the Rocky Neck Art Colony show and was then accepted.

“I’m trying to see if the art world is ready to let me in,” she said, explaining that she hopes to eventually curate work in an art gallery. “I’m hoping to get my bachelors at an art school and finish out my last two years there before finding a career in the field.”

One of the accepted pieces was completed as part of Van Houten’s Drawing 1 final at MWCC. She said that she never would have completed if not for being in that class last semester.

“The art department is very proud of Julia. It is quite an accomplishment to begin exhibiting while still in college, especially in her first year,” said MWCC Professor Thomas Matsuda who was one of Van Houten’s professors. “I was very impressed with the drawings she did in my Drawing 1 class. I am glad that one of the drawings was recognized and will be viewed by a wider audience.”

Van Houten said the education she has received in her first semester at MWCC has allowed her to explore many different facets of art. It has also been a chance for her to apply herself academically, she said. Van Houten earned a 4.0 in her first semester at MWCC.

“In high school, I didn’t try as hard as I should have. So when I got here I was able to focus and work really hard and so far it has been paying off,” she said.

Mount Wachusett Community College student Julia Van Houten’s sketch is currently on display in a juried art show at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck in Gloucester, MA.

The education she is receiving will be a stepping stone to further art education, said Van Houten. During her time at MWCC, she has already taken classes in art history, drawing, 2D design as well as general education courses.

“It’s giving me a background of everything I need. It is setting me up with everything before I go to a different school or a different career. It’s very expansive knowledge,” she said.

The show is being held at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson Street, Gloucester. It will run until August 6.

A Certain Slant is the Literary Arts Journal created by Mount Wachusett Community College students.

A collection of original poetry, prose and artwork by Mount Wachusett Community College students was published recently.

The “A Certain Slant” publication not only includes 48 pieces of student work, but was edited by student Stephanie Arnold, cover art by Kyle Johnson and cover design by Ian Cook.

The entire magazine is available online by clicking this link.

 

The mural being painted by current and former MWCC students is set to be complete later this summer.

(This story was written by Andrew Mansfield and appeared in The Gardner News) People will soon be able to take a trip across the whole city simply by walking along the West Street Parking Lot.

Past and present Mount Wachusett Community College students have been working on a mural on the rear wall of the parking lot for the past month or so.
Along the wall, the mural transitions from paintings of several different city scenes, such as the downtown skyline, Dunn Pond and City Hall.

Several local artists, led by Ben Mikels, went back to work for another session of painting on Friday.

“Every time I come and see more stuff done, I get excited,” he said. “The Mount loves getting involved with the city.”

The West Street Parking Lot is located across the street from the Gardner Ale House on Parker Street. Joining Mikels to work on the project Friday were artists Camilo Almarales, Kayla Rameau and Corinne Goodrich.

They have all been art students at the college. Mikels, Goodrich and Rameau have graduated and Almarales is still attending.

Other past or present students have been working on the project when they can as well. Mikels indicated work on the mural has taken place for about a month now.
The project also includes painting the electric boxes that service traffic lights at intersections throughout the city.

The weather and availability of the painters are factors in the timeline for when the overall work will conclude, but it is slated to wrap up over the summer.

The city and Mount Wachu­sett Community College have partnered on public art projects over the last several years. One recent example is the mural at Jackson Playground.

Community Development and Planning Assistant Director Joshua Cormier has been coordinating the projects on the city side.

“The reasons we’re doing this is we have all these blank canvases, so to speak, just sitting there,” he said. “It’s to give visitors and residents an uplifting view.”
With the West Street Parking Lot mural, he said the idea is that each image of the city is like a large-scale postcard.

Residents or visitors can take photos standing in front of the mural.

Cormier said the mural will also include some symbols of local businesses. In addition to the creative look and beautification the mural provides, it helps market what the city has to offer.

Cormier explained the city provides funding for the supplies needed, indicating this project is costing the city a few thousand dollars.

“We’re investing a little bit of money and they’re investing a lot of time,” he said.
The student artists gave credit to Mount Wachusett Community College Professor Thomas Matsuda, the chairman of the Art Department, for his role in organizing these projects with the city.

“He pretty consistently pushes kids to do stuff in the community,” Rameau said.
The projects have provided students with a chance to have their artwork become a permanent fixture in the local scene, an opportunity the students at West Street Parking Lot on Friday seemed happy to partake in.

Work from “Sculptures” by Mark Burnett includes this torso crafted out of bronze.

Mount Wachusett Community College’s East Wing Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of sculptures by Leominster resident Mark Burnett who will discuss his work at a free gallery talk on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Burnett’s exhibition entitled “Sculptures” features bronze works of art from the sculptor who works in mediums as varied as stone and fruit.

In his artist statement, Burnett recounted his first encounter with carving was with apples, in the third grade, a project in which his mother proudly saved for years. Burnett lives in Leominster, Massachusetts, works as a firefighter and hopes to further his art education and continue to demonstrate his artistic ability and exhibit his pieces to a public audience.

All are welcome to visit the gallery, attend the reception on Friday, Feb. 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and participate in the free gallery talk that will take place on Thursday, Feb. 16 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The exhibition is currently underway and will run until March 9.

The East Wing Gallery, housed in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center on the Gardner Campus, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to the exhibit from Burnett, a number of student works are shown in the space.

The Mount Wachusett Community College East Wing Gallery will open two new art exhibitions by local artists Jesse Connor and Tracie Pouliot on October 17. An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 4 from 4:30 to 7 PM and will feature talks by each artist as well as an opportunity to tour the gallery.

Artist Jesse Connor’s exhibition entitled “Far Reaches” includes large scale paintings that borrow from close observation of settings, houses or nature with unusual emotionally charged interpretations of color. Connor lives in western Massachusetts, teaches painting at MWCC and is an active, highly respected artist with many recent exhibitions across the state. He is a dedicated teacher and artist working in acrylic and oils.

Work from “Far Reaches” by Jesse Connor

Work from “Far Reaches” by Jesse Connor

Artist Tracie Pouliot’s exhibition entitled “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” is based on the lives of 14 workers in the last furniture manufacturer in Gardner. Pouliot is a local artist who opened a grant-funded community art center in Gardner to complete the book series project. She first took printmaking in the MWCC Teen Art summer program and fell in love with it. Pouliot then went on to get her bachelor’s degree in printmaking and a Master’s degree in Community Art /Public art before returning to the area as a new adjunct faculty member in the art department, teaching printmaking. Her exhibition was orchestrated in conjunction with a National Endowment for Humanities grant.

Work from “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” by Tracie Pouliot

Work from “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” by Tracie Pouliot

All are welcome to visit the gallery, attend the reception and participate in the free gallery talks. The East Wing Gallery, housed in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center on the Gardner Campus, is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 pm. The Gallery will be closed on November 11 in observance of Veterans Day.

Tom Matsuda and Sculpture I students fall 2014

Art Professor Thomas Matsuda, front right, with Sculpture I students near one of nine site specific installment pieces created this semester.

Proving once again the power of art outside the gallery, MWCC students wrapped up the fall semester by installing nine sculptures throughout the Gardner campus.

The project, new this year to Art Professor Tom Matsuda’s Sculpture I course, provided students with the opportunity to create site specific installment tailored to a particular location on campus. Earlier in the semester, the class created sculptures from nature that were located inside and outside the campus.

“It’s great to have an environment where we can share art with the student body,” said Kyle Johnson, president of the student art club. ““We’ve had such great response from the college, which really motivates us. It’s invaluable for the art program here,” said Johnson, who worked with classmate Amber Martinez to create a colorful, multi-piece cloth sculpture they installed in the Commons.

Other participating students include Heather Chadsey (sculpture located near theater box office); Julia Stokes (art wing); Alexander Singleton (Commons and art wing); Bethany Proctor (art wing); Samantha Rutkowski (art wing stairwell to basement); James Ham (art wing) Garret Watson (art wing stairwell to second floor); Isabela Bourque (Commons).

Johnny Appleseed bench project

President Daniel Asquino and Art Professor Tom Matsuda pose in the East Wing Gallery with art students who participated in the Johnny Appleseed Country project. Seated: Jenifer Porcine, Corinne Goodrich and Michelle Gangnon; Back row: Tom Hill, President Asquino, Ben Mikels, Leandro Lopez and Professor Matsuda.

“Take a Seat in Johnny Appleseed Country” is a community project aimed at increasing foot traffic in the cities and towns that make up North Central Massachusetts. The Johnny Appleseed Trail Association met with the Wachusett Mountain Ski Resort and rather than throw away inoperative ski lift chairs, both organizations decided to use them as a promotional opportunity.

Six chairs were delivered to Montachusett Regional Technical School where they were refurbished and converted by students into functional benches. Then, they were delivered to Mount Wachusett Community College this summer, where they were painted by art students. MWCC Professor Tom Matsuda, chair of the art department, said he the students were excited to participate.  The chairs will be distributed in the region this fall.

Corinne Goodrich, a student involved with the project, said painting the bench was a challenge she enjoyed. “I think the project is honoring someone who was a remarkable person.”

Art student Tom Hill said he is new to creating art that will be seen by the public. “It’s been pretty fun. I don’t think I’ve ever done a project quite like this.” Student Ben Mikles said he likes any reason to have to create art. Any art created for the public is nice because it gets the artist’s name out in the open, he said.

“People like public art and this is really functional public art that can be sat on,” said Matt Myers, marketing and communications specialist for the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association. “As art students, one of the best things to do is get your work out there,” he said. “All the students will have there names on the back of the chairs that they designed.”

Myers wanted the students to have their own individual style on the chairs, so he left the theme open for interpretation.

“The only guidelines given to the artists was to make it something relatable to North Central Massachusetts, whether that means a Johnny Appleseed themed bench or one that serves to represent the four seasons that are such a major part of life in the northeast,” Myers said. “I wanted to keep a general theme, that way the artists imagination would be given an opening to really express who they are and their connection to the area.”

From Wachusett Mountain, which has been a staple in the area for over 50 years, to students at Monty Tech and MWCC, the  Take a Seat in Johnny Appleseed Country project incorporates layers of community involvement to create “something special,” Myers said.

– Alexander P. Moore

 

Rob Roy, Color Chart #42

Two exhibits – “American Road,” a collection of prints, paintings and mixed media by Leominster artist Rob Roy and the works of four ceramists from Studio Four Potters, a cooperative studio and gallery in Gardner – are on display through March 14 in the East Wing Gallery at Mount Wachusett Community College.

An artists’ reception will take place Sunday, March 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the gallery. In addition, Roy will present a talk on his work on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 12:30 p.m., also in the gallery. The events are free and open to the public.

Roy, a professor of painting, printmaking and drawing at the Montserrate College of Art since 1988, past chair of the college’s painting department, and former adjunct instructor at MWCC, has artwork in many public and private collections. Several of the pieces in this exhibit are from his “Witness” series, which explores the imagery of war and American culture.

He has exhibited extensively in the U.S. and in Massachusetts at the Rose Art Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Danforth Museum of Art, the Williams College Museum of Art, the Berkshire Museum, the Worcester Art Museum and the Fitchburg Art Museum. He earned his M.F.A. from Yale University, School of Art and Architecture, and his B.F.A. from UMass, Amherst.

In the gallery’s glass cases, the pottery of John C. Bennard, Steven Landry, Fe Fandreyer and Marion Lyon are also on display.

Studio Four Potters

Fe and Lyon look to nature and use the potter’s wheel to create unique work. Fandreyer works with beautiful, classic forms created using the potter’s wheel. The work is accented with motifs of horses, flowers, or butterflies that are sculpted or stamped onto the pieces.

Lyon also works from the wheel but combines hand-building elements, carving and/or stamping into surfaces. Hosta plant leaves or ivy are used to emboss or create a relief surface on platters and plates. She is drawn to an asymmetrical edge and then, like a canvas, she decorates or narrates a tale with images of birds, flowers and nature.

Landry focuses on creating functional pieces using a range of surfaces and firing methods. The shiny mottled orange and smoky black pieces on display have been created by pit-firing work that has been burnished with a fine slip called terra sigillata. Landry’s other pieces are fired with a Temmoku glaze and have been made on the potter’s wheel. The symmetrical vase, with the marble-like surface, was made by wedging colored stains into a ball of clay that was then thrown on the potter’s wheel.

Bennard’s inventive pieces are created by pattern making slabs of clay, cutting and joining them. In his words, “the work is inspired by nature as observed on walks along the seashore of Prince Edward Island.”

Alumni Art Exhibit. “Ceramic Head” by Chris London.

Mount Wachusett Community College continues its 50th anniversary celebration in October with an alumni art exhibition and a special performance of Shout: The Mod Musical for alumni, students, the college community and friends of the college.

An evening of the arts will take place Thursday, Oct. 10 featuring an alumni reception from 6 to 8 p.m. in the East Wing Gallery and a special performance of Shout at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the Theatre at the Mount performance have been rolled back to the 1960s price of $6. Admission includes the alumni reception, the art exhibit and performance.

Set in the 1960s, Shout tracks five groovy gals as they come of age during the liberating days that made England swing and features chart-topping hits such as “To Sir with Love,” “Downtown,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love me,” “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Goldfinger.” Members of the ensemble cast of include Fatima Elmi, Shani Farrell, Melissa Gates, Alison Laverdiere, Chelsea Young, Katrina Caouette, Amanda Feeley, Amanda Lawton, and Olivia Ryan.

Theatre tickets can be purchased online at mwcc.edu/tam or at the box office, 978-630-9388. Additional performances of Shout will take place through Oct. 13

The art exhibition will include the work of more than 30 alumni of MWCC’s art program and the opportunity to reminisce and reconnect with former professors and classmates.

“During my studies at Mount Wachusett Community College in the early 90’s, I was a painting major and an art history minor,” said Alex Magay, director of the art department at The Winchendon School and a member of the MWCC art department advisory council.

“I studied painting under John Pacheco, Gene Cauthen and Jean Tandy. They provided me as a young artist with direction and insight that would fuel my artistic development, and insight, for many years to come. My experiences in Gardner at the Mount helped prepare me to pursue and complete my next two degrees at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.”

 

Artist and MWCC instructor Joyce Conlon will lead a free workshop in collage for high school art teachers and advanced students.

Area high school art educators and their advanced art students are invited to participate in Mount Wachusett Community College’s annual high school art collaborative workshops this spring. The free workshops are sponsored by the college’s Art Department.

A collage workshop with artist and educator Joyce Conlon will take place Wednesday, March 27 from 3:45 to 6:45 p.m. Collage is a playful and inexpensive medium for teaching design principles, illustration, abstraction and color. Participants will experiment with different papers, glues and acrylics. The workshop will include a brief presentation, historical and contemporary examples and studio time. All materials will be provided, although participants are welcome to bring in photographs and other paper collage materials.

A printmaking workshop will be led by artist and educator Susan Montgomery on Wednesday, April 24 from 3:45 to 6:45 p.m. The workshop will provide an artist’s approach to water-based print-making techniques ideal for the high school and middle school classroom. Materials, techniques, monotypes, hand printing and use of the printing press will be discussed. The workshop will include demonstrations, different approaches and projects and time to experiment with the methods.

Registration is required and requested by March 15. To register, high school art teachers may contact Professor Joyce Miller at jmiller@mwcc.mass.edu or 978-630-9221.