Rowan-Cabarrus Community College expanding arts program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 19, 2013

Both student and faculty artists have displayed their talent at Waterworks Visual Arts Center this fall and winter. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College was proud to collaborate with Waterworks to host two exhibits this year.
“I continue to be amazed at the beautiful work our art students create,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “We are proud that our fine arts program has grown so much and Rowan-Cabarrus can be an important part of the robust art community in this area.”
The Autumn Exhibition is a juried exhibition of work by students in the department of fine arts at Rowan-Cabarrus. The exhibition is on display in the Young People’s Gallery at Waterworks Visual Arts Center through Feb. 1 and features works from 22 students in a variety of media including photography, ceramics, painting, drawing, video and sculpture. The Autumn Exhibition is sponsored by the Rowan Arts Council, Rowan-Cabarrus Foundation and the Department of Fine Arts.
“Giving students the opportunity to exhibit their work in a museum setting better prepares them for a career in the arts,” said Peter Goff, art instructor at the college. “Rowan-Cabarrus doesn’t have a large gallery of its own and the partnership with Waterworks gives the students a professional platform to share their work with the community.”
Some of the exhibited pieces were created at Waterworks, which collaborates with the college’s department of fine arts to offer courses that require specialized facilities such as ceramics and darkroom photography.
The department of fine arts offers the associate in fine arts (AFA) degree program. Courses are taught on three campuses in two counties, and on site at Waterworks.
“The exhibition is a great opportunity for students to share their creative work with the community,” said Jenn Selby, program chair of the department of fine arts and instructor of photography and visual arts at Rowan-Cabarrus. “They love talking about their work and it benefits them professionally.”
A new element of the college’s annual Autumn Exhibition was the addition of the President’s Choice Award. Spalding was asked to select her personal favorite piece and chose David Zimmerle for his piece titled “Raw Energy.”
“The idea for this artwork came from literature of early world history,” said Zimmerle. “As I was reading about this frame of time, I found myself thinking of the connection between the power of nature and the energy behind mankind’s progression. Yesterday, like today and tomorrow, mankind will always be intertwined with the natural world.”
Earlier this year, college faculty had an exhibit at the gallery. Faculty artists included Lino Azevedo, Jonathan Church, Peter Goff, Rachel Goldstein, Stephen Hayes, Jonathan Hoffman, Anna Kenar, Francine Kola-Bankole, Andrew Leventis, Jenn Selby, Jerome Sturm and Lorraine Turi. This was the first exhibition highlighting the artwork of Rowan-Cabarrus faculty.
The AFA program is designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year fine arts program. The program is also suitable for students who want to focus on their personal creative development, expand their portfolios or work in related creative industries.
Also new this year is the Fine Arts & Creative Industries Co-Operative Education (Internship) Program. It provides serious students the chance to be paired with local businesses/arts organizations to expand their knowledge in a real-world setting. Also new this year are the Visiting Artist and the Step into Culture programs. The Step into Culture program is a collaboration with the college’s department of English.
The department plans to offer an associate in applied science degree in advertising and graphic design in the fall of 2014. At the same time, the college will offer new music and drama specializations within the AFA program.
The AFA program requires 65 credit hours (36 of which are in the fine arts). Students are able to focus on their area of interest and customize their course of study. Students will have some flexibility in choosing which arts courses they take, while concentrating in painting or photography.
Anyone with an interest in art should inquire about the AFA program; previous art experience is not a requirement. Questions about the Department of Fine Arts should be directed to Program Chair Jenn Selby ( or 704-216-3820).
The Spring Impulse Exhibition will be held at the Clearwater Artists Studio in downtown Concord with an opening reception on April 4, 2014.
Community partnerships are integral to the success of the department. Waterworks Visual Arts Center, Rowan Arts Council, Fine Frame Gallery, the city of Salisbury, the Cabarrus Arts Council and the Clearwater Artist Studios have all collaborated and have helped strengthen the students’ experience.
The college is registering students for the spring 2014 semester. Classes begin Jan. 13. For more program information and course descriptions, please see or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).