RCCC set to offer new associate degree program in fine arts

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 7, 2008

By Katie Scarvey
This isn’t the first year that Rowan-Cabarrus Community College students have shared their art in a public exhibition, but tonight’s opening reception will likely have a more celebratory feel than those of the past two years.
That’s because starting in the fall of 2009, the school will be offering a new associate degree program in fine arts, with students able to choose a painting or photography concentration.
“We’ll be offering an increasing number of art classes every semester,” says instructor Jenn Gardner. “We’re growing.”
The associate degree is designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year fine arts program.
Artwork done by more than 20 RCCC students is on display now through Nov. 25 at the Rail Walk Studios and Gallery, 409 N. Lee St.
A reception, free and open to the public, will take place from 6-8 p.m. this evening at the gallery.
Rail Walk gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. Gallery admission is free.
In its third year, the student exhibition is a partnership of Rowan Arts Council and RCCC, and allows students to show their work in a professional setting. The gallery, located in Salisbury’s growing downtown art district, also is a sponsor of this year’s exhibition.
Paul Thompson is one of the student artists whose work is being displayed. “American Wasteland” is a mixed media piece featuring found objects such as a spoon and a piece of muffler that came off Thompson’s truck. Thompson plans to pursue a degree in fine arts.
Amanda Zumpol of Concord, who’s studying criminal justice, has photographs in the show. Photography classes work with her career goals, since she’d like to go into forensic photography, she says.
Barbara Benton, whose work has been exhibited in previous RCCC shows, created “10 Little Pipers,” using pop art images of Piper Welch, the best friend of her granddaughter. “It’s my homage to Andy Warhol,” she says.
Adam Cable of Kannapolis has several photos on exhibit. He’d love to pursue art as a career and says that his photography classes with instructor Jenn Gardner have transformed his photos. He views things differently now, he says, appreciating “the mundane aspects” of things that he sees รณ like a piece of green crepe paper, the subject of one of his pieces.
Seventeen-year-old Alexandra Jowers of Salisbury is taking a photography class for high school credit and has several of her favorite pieces in the show, including one photo of fireworks.
“I’ve learned so much,” she says. Since taking Gardner’s class, she says that she really thinks about why she’s taking a particular picture. She plans to continue to study art and photography in college.
Jesse Hoyle of Rockwell also has photography in the exhibit, including “Lumen,” a long exposure shot of flashlights.
Anita Cathey Ryan has several drawings in the show. She’s taken figure drawing with Jonathan Church and says she’s learned a lot.
“I didn’t think I could do it,” she says.
Exhibition judge Lin Barnhardt will select first-, second- and third-place winners, as well as three honorable mentions. Awards will be presented tonight at the reception. Viewers vote for the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced at the close of the show.
RCCC offers a wide range of arts courses, including drawing, painting, watercolor, photography, digital photography, design, art appreciation and a survey of American art.
RCCC’s new AFA program will require 65 credit hours (36 of which will be fine arts). Students will have some flexibility in choosing which arts courses they take, while concentrating in painting or photography.
The college encourages anyone with an interest in art to inquire about the new AFA program; previous experience is not a requirement.
For more information about RCCC’s new associate degree program in fine arts, contact art instructor Jonathan Church at 704-216-3819, churchj@rowancabarrus.edu, or instructor Jenn Gardner at 704-216-3820, gardnerj@rowancabarrus.edu. For more information and course descriptions, see the RCCC Web site at www.rowancabarrus.edu.