Sculptures reflect change going on at RCCC

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2011

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — For some, turning a gear into modern art symbolizes the transformation under way at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
“Industrial Remains,” a steel-and-concrete sculpture inspired by a gear, stands in the RCCC courtyard near the 100 Building.
While the college no longer offers a textile degree, RCCC now has 236 art majors and will hire a sculpture specialist this fall as the school’s third art instructor.
For the first time, RCCC’s north campus in Salisbury is hosting two pieces of the 2011 Salisbury Sculpture Show. When she saw “Industrial Remains” with its spin on a remnant of the manufacturing industry, Jenn Selby said she knew the piece was right for RCCC.
“We chose that piece because it is in the shape of an old gear,” said Selby, instructor of photography and fine arts at RCCC. “We thought that would be a great link to the community college — transitioning from previous industry to new industry.”
Unbeknownst to Selby and RCCC art major Jose Lazaro, who both served on the sculpture selection committee, “Industrial Remains” was created by a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Mark Krucke.
Displaying art created by a recent college grad will inspire RCCC art students, Selby said.
“It validates their career path, in a way,” she said.
RCCC wants to teach more than just good technique, she said. The college also wants to teach students how to find a job.
“This opens up discussions about being a professional artist and making a living,” she said.
Also at RCCC, the new 400 Building provides the backdrop for “Origins Passage,” an 800-pound bronze, cast glass and marble creation by Glenn Zweygardt of New York.
The RCCC Foundation provided funding with private donations to host the two sculptures. The foundation paid the stipend for the artists, which covers their expenses to deliver and install their work.
No taxpayer dollars or students fees went toward the project, Selby said. The RCCC Foundation has created the Art on Campus Initiative, a new fund that promotes the arts throughout RCCC’s branches.
Salisbury’s Public Art Committee, which organized the third annual Sculpture Show, has wanted to move the project beyond downtown, chairwoman Barbara Perry said.
“We were thrilled when the college contacted us,” Perry said.
The committee, part of the city’s Community Appearance Commission, would like to work with other colleges in the future, she said.
Like the 14 sculptures on display downtown, the pieces at RCCC will stand through December for public viewing.
Brochures detailing each piece, including a map and statements from the artists, will be available in early May at the Rowan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Rowan Public Library, city officers, Downtown Salisbury Inc. and many downtown merchants.
The Public Art Committee received $10,000 from Edward and Susan Norvell and $15,000 in grants from the Rowan County and Salisbury tourism development authorities to support the show. The committee soon will distribute a video promoting the nine-month event.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.