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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Faculty and staff art exhibit displays creative works

Creativity is on display at the All-Faculty/Staff Exhibition of Creativity in Hege Library. Mail and Print Services Assistant Dylan Walters submitted this acrylic painting, “Life in a Unicursal Maze (Artist with Horn).” (Brittany Moore/Guilfordian)

Steer your footsteps in the direction of the library and feast your eyes upon the newest art exhibition, featuring our very own Guilford College faculty and staff. Works range from beautifully fashioned wooden cabinets and stools to knitted blankets to paintings and photographs.

Hege Library currently houses the All-Faculty/Staff Exhibition of Creativity. The exhibition features the work of faculty and staff from not only the art department, but also the chemistry, English, justice and policy studies and geology departments, as well from Mail and Print Services, IT&S, the library staff, the Early College faculty and the facilities department.

The exhibition gives students a chance to see how faculty and staff on campus are multi-talented while providing faculty and staff an arena in which to display their works. In some cases, the community might never have had the opportunity to view such works otherwise.

“Students often see us as one-sided characters,” said Theresa Hammond, director and curator of the Art Gallery. “It’s important for them to see the balance and that there is more to us than our professional roles.”

Although some participants in the exhibition are professors in the art department and spend all of their time devoted to art and creativity, many other participants strike a relationship between their creativity as professors and staff members and their creativity as artists outside of their academic fields and departments.

No two works in the exhibition are the same, each bringing a story to the gallery. All of the artists have their own inspiration and technique for manifesting their vision. For some, a patch of color or the glimpse of a new shape sets the creative juices flowing, while others find joy simply in using their hands.

Joan Griffith, the college’s database administrator, explained the relationship between her work on campus and her quilting. Her job consists of designing computer programs and troubleshooting technical problems.

“Designing a program and designing a quilt both incorporate creativity,” said Griffith. “You have certain methods and materials for both while working under certain constraints.”

Griffith’s wall hanging incorporates cranes, meticulous needlework and precise quilting patterns.

Being able to incorporate creativity into teaching allows some the chance to forge a relationship between their passions and interests, however varied and wide-ranging they may be.

Recently retired chemistry professor Dave MacInnes described his woodwork by relating his two academic and creative pursuits.

“I’m also a scientist, and to do that you have to be creative; it includes thinking about different ways of looking at things,” said MacInnes.

Even for professors whose art is closely tied to their professional artistry outside of Guilford, the use of alternate perspectives may occur. Visiting Instructor of Art Maia Dery combines her two fields — teaching and personal work — frequently.

“I’m tired of balancing the two as if they’re separate,” said Dery. “It takes no less creativity to teach than to create art.”

The sculpture made from the photographic trash of both Dery and her students captures the inability to separate her two veins of interest. Consisting of film canisters and old film, the sculpture embodies the working character and energy of an art student.

Creating a distance from work makes creative endeavors more relaxing. Mailroom Manager Lynn Van Horn says that finding a balance between work and creativity is simple.

“I start playing around, and the materials will dictate what you can do,” said Van Horn. “Let it all kind of bubble, and put work in another compartment.”

Van Horn submitted two wooden wall hangings composed of found wood and formed in heart shapes.

For other faculty, no discernible relationship exists between work and art.

Professor Emeritus of Geology Cyril Harvey chose three photographs of women from Central America for the exhibition. Harvey did not point out a connection between his time as a professor and his expansive photographic endeavors, both during his time at Guilford and during his retirement.

“I tend to use photography as a journal,” Harvey said.

Harvey and his wife Judith travel overseas once or twice a year. Harvey’s photography helps him to remember the highlights of his travels.

Some artists identify outwardly as professors and admit to inward tendencies. Dana Professor of English Carolyn Beard Whitlow, a published poet, described her second artistic passion.

“Every artist has a second genre,” said Whitlow. “I’m probably a frustrated painter. Fiber arts are my way of working with color.”

One of Whitlow’s fabric wall hangings in the exhibit, “Gold Coast,” presents a fantastic palette of colors that incorporates fabric from West Africa.

The faculty and staff exhibition creates another sense of community among faculty, staff and students manifested through art. The exhibition will remain in the gallery through the end of this semester.  

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