Annual exhibition gives Pellissippi State photography students a chance to shine

Photo of a student in a black hoodie on a city street
This photo, taken by Pellissippi State student Nathanial Dault, is one of the images that will be on display Feb. 25-March 15 in the Annual Photography Student Exhibition on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.

Photography students at Pellissippi State Community College will have an opportunity to show some of their best images in an exhibition Feb. 25-March 15.

The Annual Photography Student Exhibition, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, will be on display in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The gallery is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, and the exhibition is free and open to the public.

“For a lot of our students, they’ve never been in a show in a gallery, so this gives them that experience,” said Professor Kurt Eslick, who will be curating the images for the exhibition with Associate Professor Ronald Goodrich, the program coordinator for Photography at Pellissippi State. “It’s a chance for them and their families to see their work on the wall. I love seeing families being very proud of their kids for having a picture in a gallery. It reminds you of what a big deal it is to have your work shown.”

The exhibition is open to any Pellissippi State student who has taken or is currently enrolled in Photography 2.

“There is no theme, but the exhibition is comprised of images that the students are really proud of,” Eslick explained, noting the show is not a competition. “This show lets us tell our students in a different way how proud we are of them, and it also lets the community know we’re proud of these photographs and of the people who took them.”

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

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Explore your genealogy at free workshop at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus

Members of the community who want to learn how to pursue their genealogy have a unique opportunity this week, as Pellissippi State Community College offers a free workshop on its Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The event, led by community members Alice Greene and Harold Hicks, will be held noon-2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, in Magnolia Avenue Campus Room 123, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Greene, who was born in Washington, D.C., learned about her maternal family from her mother and at family reunions beginning in 1962. She completed her first family pedigree chart in 1987 and disseminated it to family members. Since then she has researched her family history in Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and in the largest genealogy library in the world, which is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. She plans to write a book on her family research.

Hicks has researched his family since the early 1980s. He became interested in researching his family’s past after listening to his second cousin share family history as relayed to her from her grandmother. Hicks discovered that his family’s roots date to 1824, starting with his great-grandfather on a Lynchburg, Va., plantation. The Hicks family later traveled through Baltimore, Md., and Newport, Rhode Island. Hicks’ research has uncovered more than 3,800 relatives.

While the genealogy workshop is free, space is limited. Call the Magnolia Avenue Campus at 865-329-3100 to reserve a space. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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Pellissippi State welcomes Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra, guest artist Jamie Simmons

The 20-member Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra returns to Pellissippi State Community College next week in a free concert that is open to the public.

The performance at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, is part of the The Arts at Pellissippi State and will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra is part of the educational arm of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and has been directed by Tom Lundberg, Pellissippi State’s brass instructor, for the past eight years. Open to high school-aged musicians, the auditioned ensemble rehearses once a week and performs eight to 10 concerts during the school year throughout the area.

“This year the Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra is excited to appear with guest artist Jamie Simmons,” said Lundberg. “Mr. Simmons is a trumpeter, composer and arranger who will join the band on several selections. The program will consist of jazz standards, music from the Great American Songbook, contemporary popular and original compositions.”

Simmons, who serves as director of jazz studies at Middle Tennessee State University, is appearing with the Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra through the generous support of an anonymous Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra donor, Lundberg added.

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Folk singers trace path to freedom from slavery through civil rights movement

Rhonda and Sparky Rucker performing on banjo and guitar
Folk musicians Rhonda and Sparky Rucker will perform at Pellissippi State on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Pellissippi State Community College will celebrate World Day of Social Justice through music and song with internationally known musicians, storytellers and authors Sparky and Rhonda Rucker.

Sparky and Rhonda’s “Let Freedom Ring” performance will be held 10:45 a.m.-12:05 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The event is free and open to the public.

Sparky and Rhonda’s program at Pellissippi State will demonstrate how movements for justice have produced some of our country’s most inspiring songs and stories. They will trace the nation’s struggles from slavery and the Underground Railroad through the battles for women’s suffrage and workers’ rights and into the civil rights movement.

“As a social worker by training, I’ve been involved is social justice work for over 30 years, and I’ve always been amazed at how artists can utilize their works to reflect the time,” said Drema Bowers, director of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement for Pellissippi State. “That is especially true of musicians. Although I’ve only heard the Ruckers perform once, it made a lasting impression and I want others to share this experience.”

Sparky Rucker grew up in Knoxville and has been involved with the civil rights movement since the 1950s. He got his start in folk music during the movement, marching shoulder-to-shoulder with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Freedom Singers Matthew and Marshall Jones and playing freedom songs at rallies alongside such luminaries as Guy and Candie Carawan, Pete Seeger and Bernice Reagon. In addition, he worked for the Poor People’s Campaign and helped to gain benefits for coal miners in Southern Appalachia. Sparky accompanies himself on guitar, banjo and spoons.

Rhonda Hicks Rucker practiced medicine for five years in Maryville, Tenn., before becoming a full-time musician, author and storyteller. She is a versatile singer and performer, playing blues harmonica, piano, clawhammer banjo and rhythmic bones. Rhonda has become a passionate voice in social and environmental advocacy through her songwriting, creating moving songs about topics such as global warming, the broken health care system and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Sparky and Rhonda are world-renowned performers, and we are fortunate to have them here in our area,” Bowers said. “It would be a shame not to take advantage of this opportunity to journey through time with them.”

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email  accommodations@pstcc.eduFor more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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Benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” to help victims of violence

Oil panting by Jennifer Brickey
“Private Places,” an oil on canvas painting by Jennifer Brickey, an associate professor of studio art and art history at Pellissippi State, is being used to help advertise the upcoming benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” at the college.

Pellissippi State Community College is using art to bring awareness of violence against women with two theatre performances that benefit the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee.

Women faculty and students will perform a staged reading of Eve Ensler’s play, “The Vagina Monologues,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, and at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the West Chevrolet Auditorium on the college’s Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville.

A $10 donation is suggested at the door, as the performances are part of V-Day, a global activist moment to end violence against all women and girls. However, Associate Professor Grechen Wingerter said Pellissippi State will turn no one away because the messages in the play are powerful.

“Women in all walks of life have been affected by violence,” said Wingerter, who is directing both performances at Pellissippi State. “If we haven’t experienced violence personally, we know someone who has.”

“The Vagina Monologues,” which debuted in 1996, broke new ground. Based on dozens of interviews Ensler conducted with women, the play addresses women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse. After every performance, Ensler found women waiting to share their own stories of survival, leading Ensler and a group of women to establish in 1998 the nonprofit V-Day, which stages benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” and “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer: Writings to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls,” also by Ensler, every February.

To date, the V-Day movement has raised more than $100 million and funded more than 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Indian Country and Iraq, according to the V-Day website.

“All our readers are women or identify as women because these are all real stories from real women,” Wingerter noted. “These are stories of women who have not had power. In some situations, women are considered second-class citizens. Race, gender, sexuality, religion – all of that plays a part. And we will keep telling these stories until the violence stops.”

Wingerter warns that “The Vagina Monologues” is an adult-oriented show that tries to break the taboo of talking about women’s bodies. Parental discretion is advised.

“Some of these stories have tough language, and some have tough subject matter,” she said. “We say the word ‘vagina’ a lot, as well as its many euphemisms. You may be uncomfortable. Our readers may be uncomfortable. But we have to learn not to be afraid to say the word ‘vagina.’”

While the issues are serious, some stories have taken a comedic or light-hearted approach, leading to moments of laughter that allows audiences to let some of that tension go, Wingerter added.

“I hope both our students who are participating and those who come to see the play will take away that their voices matter, that their experiences matter,” she said. “Let’s look at how often those in the minority are told that their voices are not important. ‘The Vagina Monologues’ empowers women to speak out, that there are people who will listen.”

A talk-back session will be held after each performance, allowing those in the audience and the readers to discuss what they’ve seen and heard, as well as their own experiences.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.eduFor more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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Birdhouses, sculpture, graphic design among art on display this month at Pellissippi State

Birdhouse made by artist Matt Tullis with found objects
This birdhouse is among the Matt Tullis art on display at Pellissippi State through Feb. 22.

Silkscreen gig posters for bands, sculptures and birdhouses may seem like an eclectic mix of objects, but for artist Matt Tullis, it’s all interrelated.

Pellissippi State Community College will display a variety of Tullis’ work through Feb. 22 in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The exhibit, the latest installment in The Arts at Pellissippi State, is free and open to the public. The Gallery has expanded its hours and is now open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A closing reception with the artist will be held 3-5 p.m. Feb. 22.

Tullis, who teaches graphic design at Western Kentucky University, is also a sculptor and raconteur. He titled the show “Pollinate” in reference to how all facets of his work are interrelated and develop from cross-pollination, he said.

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

Pellissippi State hosts play about Underground Railroad

Poster for "Oh Freedom"
Pellissippi State will host “Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad” on two of its campuses this month.

Pellissippi State Community College will host free performances of “Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad” on two of its campuses this month, and the public is invited.

The one-act play will be performed by The WordPlayers at 12:25 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the college’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave., Knoxville, and at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at the college’s Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville.

Each performance is approximately 50 minutes.

Written by Peter Manos, “Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad” combines the stories of the men and women who were active in the fight against slavery with songs of the period, according to a description on The WordPlayers’ website. Famous participants like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe are represented, but so are lesser known heroes of the movement like John Rankin, whose house on a hill above the Ohio River was a beacon for freedom for many escaping bondage; the mysterious “Peg Leg” Joe, who moved among the plantations teaching slaves to escape and “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a song designed to show them the way; and Henry “Box” Brown, who had himself put in a box and mailed to freedom by general post.

“Knowledge about our American history, on all levels, is extremely important,” said Magnolia Avenue Campus Dean Rosalyn Tillman and Blount County Campus Dean Holly Burkett in a joint statement. “Sharing this knowledge in this entertaining way enlightens our students and our community about this history.”

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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Pellissippi State responds to cybersecurity incident

Pellissippi State Community College has notified 222 current and former students that their personally identifiable information may have been compromised when an unauthorized user accessed a college email address Jan. 9.

“The incident was limited to one general institutional email account and to a small population of individuals who had sent information to that account,” said Audrey Williams, Pellissippi State’s vice president for Information Services. “Pellissippi State believes this is an isolated incident, and it does not appear that any data have been disseminated to other people or sources.”

An investigation showed that of 1,800 emails in the account that was accessed by an unauthorized user, 222 contained sensitive information such as first name, last name, Pellissippi State username, student identification number, date of birth, driver’s license number and/or partial or full social security number.

“While we cannot confirm that data was viewed or copied from the account, we wanted to let you know about this incident out of an abundance of caution,” Williams wrote in the letter that was mailed to affected current and former students.

Although Pellissippi State immediately made changes to safeguard the email account that was compromised, the college is going a step further by offering the affected individuals credit monitoring and identity protection services for 12 months at no cost to them.

Pellissippi State recommends those affected place a fraud alert on their credit files and check their credit reports every three months for the next year, even if they do not find any signs of fraud on their reports.

“At Pellissippi State, we value everyone’s privacy,” Williams said. “We take this event, and the security of our information, very seriously. We are reviewing our policies and procedures to better protect against an event like this happening again in the future.”

The Tennessee Board of Regents, the State of Tennessee Department of Treasury and the United States Department of Education all have been notified, she added, and Pellissippi State continues to monitor the college’s network and accounts.

Those with additional questions should visit www.pstcc.edu/records/datafaq.

Pellissippi State expands with new buildings planned for Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses

Artist rendering of new science and math building
Pellissippi State plans to break ground on a new science and math building on its Hardin Valley Campus this spring and open it for classes in fall 2021.

Pellissippi State Community College has announced today its largest expansion in 44 years.

Pellissippi State, the largest community college in Tennessee with 10,894 students, announced plans to build a science and math building on its Hardin Valley Campus in Knoxville and a workforce development center on its Blount County Campus in Friendsville.

“Today is a historic day at Pellissippi State,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Never before have we had two capital projects occurring simultaneously. Never before have we set a $10 million fundraising goal. And never before have we engaged so many volunteers in the process.”

The new 82,000-square-foot science and math building will help Pellissippi State meet demands for classrooms and lab spaces that have increased due to Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, last-dollar scholarships offered to high school seniors and adults without college degrees, respectively.

“Pellissippi State’s general biology lab is in use for 12 hours a day, five days a week, with most labs at full capacity,” said Kane Barker, dean of Natural & Behavioral Sciences. “Many students need this course and other math and science classes in order to graduate on time. This new building will double the capacity for many of our core courses.”

Meanwhile, Blount County has experienced $2.8 billion in new capital investment and announced 5,500 new jobs since 2011, according to the Blount Partnership. Pellissippi State’s new 62,000-square-foot workforce development center will help fill the area’s need for highly skilled, college-educated employees.

“This new building will allow us to expand our Engineering Technology, Computer Information Technology and Culinary Arts associate degree programs and certificates,” said Teri Brahams, executive director for Economic and Workforce Development for Pellissippi State. “We would not be here today without DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee’s commitment to expansion and employment in Blount County and their advocacy on behalf of manufacturing in our state.”

Pellissippi State plans to break ground on the new science and math building this spring and open it in fall 2021. The college plans to break ground on the workforce development center in December 2019, and classes will start there in fall 2021.

The total project cost for the construction of the new science and math building is $27 million while the total project cost for the construction of the workforce development center is $16.5 million.

Pellissippi State is responsible for $2.7 million for the new science and math building, which is primarily funded by the state, and $5.5 million for the workforce development center, which also is being funded by the state and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville, which will occupy part of the building.

Other funding priorities announced Friday include $800,000 to expand Pellissippi State’s Media Technology program, specifically the Audio Production Engineering concentration, as well as $1 million to help support students through scholarships and emergency assistance and to help faculty through funding individual departments and programs, professional development opportunities and new equipment and technology updates.

Part of Friday’s announcement was that the Pellissippi State Foundation already has raised $8 million of its $10 million goal, thanks to significant contributions from donors such as the Haslam Family Foundation; Ruth and Steve West; Blount County, the City of Maryville and the City of Alcoa in partnership with the Industrial Development Board; Pilot Flying J; Arconic Foundation; Clayton Family Foundation; Clayton Homes Inc.; UT-Battelle; DENSO North America Foundation; Oak Ridge Associated Universities; UCOR, an AECOM-led partnership with Jacobs; William Ed Harmon; and the Thompson Charitable Foundation.

For more information about the Pellissippi State’s two new buildings and the campaign to build them, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate/. To view the video shown at today’s event, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1gYaZL8Oqg&feature=youtu.be.

For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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Pellissippi State performance showcases talents of music faculty

Eighteen faculty at Pellissippi State Community College will show off their musical chops next week during a free performance that veers between Appalachian folksongs, Broadway show tunes, classical compositions and jazz.

Pellissippi State’s faculty recital will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The faculty recital, the latest installment in The Arts at Pellissippi State, is free and open to the public.

“There is a large variety of music scheduled and includes solo singers, solo and four-hands piano, and small instrumental ensembles,” explained Music Program Coordinator Peggy Hinkle. “You will hear everything from ‘Three Blind Mice’ to Debussy and even an original composition by David Slack, adjunct music faculty and director of the Studio Orchestra.”

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.