Pellissippi State hosts inaugural intercollegiate art exhibit

A work of art that will be on display at the Inaugural Intercollegiate Juried Student Exhibition at Pellissippi State
“Untitled,” a painting by Grace Wright of Chattanooga State Community College.

Community college students from across the state will have their art work displayed at Pellissippi State Community College in the first show of its kind.

The Inaugural Tennessee Intercollegiate Juried Student Exhibition will be on display Nov. 19-Dec. 7 in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and the exhibition is free and open to the public.

“We at Pellissippi State and Tennessee’s community colleges believe strongly in our students, and that’s why we are teaching at a community college,” said Herbert Rieth, associate professor of art. “We bend over backwards to help their needs and pave their way to a four-year college.”

Rieth and Nathanial Smyth, art faculty and department chair at Volunteer State Community College, had the idea for an intercollegiate juried student exhibition at a conference a couple of years ago, Rieth explained.

“Being community colleges, there is not as much rivalry because we’re more regionally based,” Rieth said. “Not only did we think it would be fun for us to see what other programs are doing, but many students want to become professional artists, and we thought this would be a way for students to go through the process of applying for a juried exhibition to see what that’s like.”

Current and former students at Tennessee’s 13 community colleges were invited to enter works generated the past two years in studio art classes. There was no cost to enter.

Seven community colleges had students participate, with 103 works submitted. Peter Hoffecker Mejia, a visiting assistant professor of art at the University of Memphis and a former Pellissippi State student, served as juror, choosing 22 works for the exhibition.

“Twenty-one students made it in, including seven from Pellissippi State, so it’s an honor to get in there,” Rieth said. “There’s a little bit of everything we were allowing: photography, painting, drawing, design, sculpture, blacksmith, print making, collage. It’s quite a survey.”

A piece of art that will be displayed in the Intercollegiate Juried Student Exhibition at Pellissippi State Nov. 19-Dec. 7
“Reality,” a photograph by Oscar Morales of Volunteer State Community College.

A closing reception and awards ceremony will be held 3-5 p.m. Dec. 7. Three places and two honorable mentions will be awarded, with gifts donated by David Lusk Gallery, located in Memphis and Nashville, and Jerry’s Artarama in Knoxville.

Pellissippi State also will purchase the winning art work for $500, which the student will receive. The art work then will go on display at the college.

The exhibition is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events,  visit