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.

###

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.

###

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.

###

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 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.

###

‘Black Comedy’ brings farce to Pellissippi State stage

“Black Comedy,” a farce about what happens when the lights go out at a dinner party, launches the spring 2019 theatre season at Pellissippi State Community College next weekend.

Audiences have three opportunities to catch the one-act play: at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25 and 26, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27.

All performances will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Tickets, available at www.pstcc.edu/tickets, are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for Pellissippi State faculty, staff and students.

While the characters in “Black Comedy” are in the dark, the audience can see everything as lovesick and desperate Brindsley Miller must impress his fiancée’s father while trying to return “borrowed” antiques from his next-door neighbor, who has suddenly shown up at his darkened door.

“Because it’s a farce, there’s a lot of physical comedy in it,” said Theatre Program Coordinator Charles R. Miller, noting the play was postponed from fall semester when an actor broke his hand. “It’s a great big silly, fluffy, fun feature, which gives our students who have taken a class on farce and comedy an opportunity to earn their chops.”

Written by Peter Shaffer and first performed in 1965 in England, “Black Comedy” premiered on Broadway in 1967 and featured the Broadway debuts of actors Michael Crawford, who originated the title role in “The Phantom of the Opera,” and the late Lynn Redgrave, who was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

At Pellissippi State, the production is a mix of former and current Pellissippi State students, Miller said, as well as members of the faculty and the community.

“Black Comedy” is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts exhibits, theatre productions, musical performances and faculty lectures, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

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

###

“Interlaced” sculptures, drawings kick off The Arts at Pellissippi State

Sculpture by Jamey Grimes
“The objects and environments that I create are fueled by encounters with natural forces,” Jamey Grimes says in his artist statement. “My intent is to remind us of our relationship and scale to the forces of nature.”

Mind-bending sculptural work and lush drawings combine this month in a new visual art exhibit at Pellissippi State Community College.

“Interlaced: Jamey Grimes and Charlotte Wegrzynowski” opens Monday, Jan. 14, and will be on display through Feb. 1 at the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

A reception with the artists will be held 3-5 p.m on Friday, Feb. 1.

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. Mondays through Fridays.

Grimes and Wegrzynowski are instructors at the University of Alabama.

Grimes’ sculptural work references forms in nature, biological structures and exploring spaces. His relatively simple techniques and forms are recombined in endless variations to create meditations on interconnectivity and structures in space.

Drawing by Charlotte Wegrzynowski
Charlotte Wegrzynowski won second place in the SECAC 2016 Juried Exhibition and received the Best of Show award in the 31st West Alabama Juried Art Show.

Wegrzynowski also delves into forms in space and in light and dark. Her drawings explore the illusion of space as well as communicating strong metaphorical narratives.

“Though they could not be more different artists, both in form and content, the similarities in the ways that their artwork ‘dances’ make this a disparate, but very informative pairing,” said Herb Rieth, associate professor of Liberal Arts for Pellissippi State.

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.

K-12 educators invited to teaching conference keynote at Pellissippi State

Alan November
Alan November will give a keynote presentation on “Transforming the Culture of Teaching and Learning” on Jan. 11, and K-12 educators are invited.

An international leader in educational technology is coming to Pellissippi State Community College in January, and K-12 teachers are invited to attend his keynote presentation.

Alan November, named one of the nation’s 15 most influential thinkers of the decade by Tech & Learning magazine, will be at Pellissippi State for a Teaching and Learning Conference sponsored by the Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) and Mobile Fellows Program.

November’s keynote, “Transforming the Culture of Teaching and Learning,” will be held 8:30-10:15 a.m. Jan. 11 in the Goins Building Auditorium on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville.

“Alan November will be discussing current and past ideas circulating on using technology in the classroom,” said Pellissippi State Chemistry Assistant Professor Rachel Glazener, PACE Faculty Fellow for Mobile and Emerging Technology. “Do not let the technology aspect scare you; rather, the conference is focused on a way of thinking about how to harness technology to help our students own their learning.”

November’s keynote will explore how the design of an assignment can move students from simply regurgitating learning material to being critical thinkers and applying the learned material. He also will delve into how forming a global network can increase collaboration not only inside the classroom, but outside of the classroom as well.

“Forming a learning network can move students to become empowered in their own learning, can help the learning become visible and can expand student’s communication in their field outside of the classroom,” November said.

The keynote is free, but teachers are asked to register at http://bit.ly/pscctechconkeynote by Dec. 14 because space is limited.

For more information, contact Glazener at rlglazener@pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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 www.pstcc.edu/arts.

Pellissippi State faculty explore World War I’s legacy on Armistice centennial

Pellissippi State Community College will mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I with a symposium covering seven topics, from poetry to propaganda.

“The Great War: One Hundred Years Later” will be held 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The symposium, which includes seven 30-minute lectures by Pellissippi State faculty of different disciplines, is free and open to the public.

“This gives us an opportunity to present some research outside of our classrooms,” said symposium organizer Nathan Pavalko, an assistant professor of history who specializes in modern U.S. history and the Cold War. “I like to try to bring history topics outside the classroom, and I wanted to make this as interdisciplinary as possible. We have art, English and history represented.”

The symposium schedule includes:

  • 10-10:30 a.m.: The Great War and the end of the Long Nineteenth Century, presented by Harry Whiteside
  • 10:30-11 a.m.: Russian Propaganda, presented by YuLiya Kalnaus
  • 11-11:30 a.m.: Poets of the Great War, presented by Brigette McCray
  • 11:30 a.m.-noon: Versailles Treaty and 100 Years Later, presented by Pavalko
  • Noon-12:30 p.m. World War I and the Women Who Waged It, presented by Josh Durbin
  • 12:30-1 p.m.: The Great War and German Expressionism, presented by Herb Rieth
  • 1-1:30 p.m.: War Crimes of World War I, presented by Alison Vick

World War I left quite a legacy, Pavalko said.

“The world we live in today probably would not exist, politically and culturally, had World War I not happened,” he noted. “World War I creates the modern concept of what war is. It’s not heroic. It’s not some grand adventure. It’s sheer brutality, and that is what shocks people into rethinking what war is.”

World War I can serve as a cautionary tale even today, Pavalko added.

“One of the overarching thoughts before the war, especially in Europe, was, ‘We’ll never have another war because we are so civilized, technologically advanced and diplomatic,’” he explained. “We should learn not to underestimate the horribleness of humanity.”

For more information on Pellissippi State, visit the website at www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400. To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

###