Student success in the spotlight as Pellissippi State presents first Purchase Award Showcase

A graphite drawing
“Tempest,” a graphite drawing by former Pellissippi State art student Tavish E. White, is among 14 works that will be on display Aug. 26-Sept. 13 in the college’s first Purchase Award Showcase. “Tempest” won Best in Show in spring 2014.

Former and current art students whose work has been chosen as Best in Show at Pellissippi State Community College since spring 2011 will have their winning works displayed Aug. 26-Sept. 13 in the college’s Purchase Award Showcase.

This free exhibition in the college’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery kicks off The Arts at Pellissippi State for fall 2019 by offering the public an opportunity to view all the art works on display around the college as part of Pellissippi State’s permanent art collection.

For three weeks, all the works that have been purchased by Pellissippi State from the student artists between spring 2011 and spring 2019 will be moved into the Gallery for viewing.

“In 2007, the Bagwell Gallery was completed and, with that, came the opportunity to have an additional learning and exhibiting space for our students and the community,” explained Pellissippi State Art Program Coordinator Jeffrey Lockett. “Out of this, we established an annual student juried show, which offers students a chance to participate in the whole process of entering, being accepted to and showing in a public space. It has grown into an excellent showcase of student talent.”

In 2011, under the guidance of former Pellissippi State Vice President Rebecca Ashford, the college’s administration began offering a $500 purchase award to the student whose work was selected as Best in Show. Now those works – drawings, paintings and sculpture – are displayed on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses.

Fourteen works will be on display in the Purchase Award Showcase, as more than one winner was chosen during some shows.

“We certainly look forward to having them on all five campuses as more works are selected at subsequent student shows,” Lockett said.

The Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery is located on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, and is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.

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

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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.

Faculty lecture at Pellissippi State focuses on communication choices

“Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”  ― J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit” 

We build our internal universe out of language.

Pellissippi State Community College speech communication faculty Anita Maddox and Shaquille Marsh will explore this concept – and provide tools to help you make effective language choices to minimize pain – in their upcoming lecture “O No U Ditin’: Levels of Abstraction and Perception in Communication Choices.”

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Faculty Lecture Series and The Arts at Pellissippi State. It will be held at 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

“Speech is immediate and actually changes the neurons firing in the listener’s brain,” explained Maddox, an associate professor of speech communication. “What comes out of your mouth changes the people who hear it. You can’t take it back. You can’t undo it.”

What you can do, she said, is become aware of your language and use specific tools to be more effective at coordinating and managing meaning between yourself and others.

Maddox and Marsh are presenting the faculty lecture together to explore the scholarship behind semantics, ladders of abstraction and the process of perception – as well as some practical applications.

“Speech is more than just talking,” stressed Marsh, a speech communication instructor who also coaches Pellissippi State’s debate team. “We need to understand ourselves and coordinate with others to craft realities we can share across a broad spectrum of experience.”

The use of non-gender-specific pronouns is one example.

“It may not matter to you, but it matters to someone else,” added Maddox. “When people say to someone disparagingly, ‘You’re so politically correct,’ I want to point out that, ‘No, not really. This language is more accurate.’”

Maddox’s and Marsh’s presentation will move from the vague to the specific, with real-life examples they feel will resonate with the audience.

“Our goal is to have fun and learn at the same time,” Marsh said of the faculty lecture . “You choose your words whether you are conscious of it or not. Hopefully, a little deeper understanding of how that works and more options for how to choose will help you mitigate painful situations.”

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

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Pellissippi State performs world premiere of new play, “Soft Animals”

Pellissippi State students rehearse a scene for the upcoming play "Soft Animals."
Pellissippi State students Abby Reber, Peyton Southworth, Morgan Edwards, Kyle Walton, Katherine Wilcox-Chelimsky and Fredderick Richardson, from left, rehearse a scene in the upcoming play “Soft Animals,” a new play written for Pellissippi State in collaboration with The Farm Theater in New York.

It’s not every day theatre students get to produce an original play in collaboration with the playwright, but Pellissippi State Community College students have that rare opportunity this November.

Pellissippi State will present the world premiere of “Soft Animals,” a new play written by Erin Mallon for Pellissippi State in collaboration with The Farm Theater in New York.

The play, a comedy that explores the perceptions we have about people’s physical appearances and our relationships with our bodies, will be performed Nov. 9-11 and 16-18, with Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday performances at 2 p.m.

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

“We are the first production of this play, and we really wanted to be the first,” said director Grechen Lynne Wingerter, associate professor of theatre at Pellissippi State. “This experience allows students to know what it’s like to build a play from the ground up.”

The Farm Theater commissioned Mallon – a writer, actor and voice artist – to write the play, which will be produced at Pellissippi State in November and at Arkansas State University in February. As the name College Collaboration Project indicates, the entire process has been collaborative.

“I had to pitch the idea, as the play had not been written yet,” explained Mallon, the playwright. “We discussed a question that has been swirling in my brain for a long time: Does the mind create the body? I felt like that was a worthy theme to explore in a play because I truly don’t know the answer, but the question fascinates me.”

The collaboration with Pellissippi State began in the spring, Wingerter noted, with a Skype meeting with Mallon.

“She took what the students had to say on the topic of body image and incorporated that into her writing,” Wingerter said. “It’s a funny play, but it also has some depth, in that it deals with the imperfections/quirks we all have and learning what we can and cannot control.”

In August Wingerter traveled to New York to attend a workshop reading of the play by professional actors and to meet the playwright in person. Rehearsals started at Pellissippi State in September. Wingerter “double cast” the play so that more students could participate, she noted, with the two casts alternating performances – and Mallon traveled to Knoxville to work with the students in mid-October.

“This team of actors is brave and game to try anything,” Mallon said of the Pellissippi State students. “The play is an absurd-ish comedy that carries some darker themes, but it is definitely comedy forward. The actors have to be bold and willing to try some weird stuff. This is a very funny and talented group.”

Two Pellissippi State students rehearse a scene for the upcoming play "Soft Animals."
Pellissippi State students Anna Czeh and Jeremy Kington rehearse a scene in the upcoming play “Soft Animals.” The play was “double cast” so that more students would have an opportunity to participate in the world premiere of this new play, with casts alternating performances.

Wingerter stressed how special this opportunity has been for Pellissippi State.

“This is unique for our students, to be the very first to bring a play to life,” she explained. “When you do the classics – say, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or ‘Death of a Salesman’ – there are preconceived notions of how those plays are supposed to be done, and there always will be comparisons. With a new play, our actors are allowed to experiment, to explore character development, and they’re focusing on applying what they’re learning in the classroom to the stage.”

Wingerter is hopeful that the relationship the students are forming with Mallon also may serve them well later on.

“She’ll remember these guys because this is the first time ‘Soft Animals’ has been produced,” Wingerter said. “Maybe she will think of one of them in the future. Theatre is a lot of networking, and I want our students to have meaningful opportunities.”

Audiences at the Nov. 10 performance of “Soft Animals” will have a unique opportunity as well: to participate in a “talk back session” with the playwright after the play.

“I’ve noticed lately that what I seem to be writing over and over again are characters who are learning to love and accept themselves,” Mallon said. “That is incredibly hard for a lot of us to do, but I hope audiences will come away from the play with a little more kindness toward themselves – and enjoy a lot of laughter along the way.”Logo for The Farm Theater in New York

To purchase tickets for “Soft Animals,” visit www.pstcc.edu/tickets. To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State alumna celebrates cosplay in photography exhibit

A cosplayer dressed as Sakura Kinomoto from the anime series "Cardcaptor Sakura"
Sakura Kinomoto from the anime series “Cardcaptor Sakura” is among the characters brought to life by cosplayers in the upcoming “Amanda Swanson Photography” exhibit at Pellissippi State Community College.

The colorful world of cosplay is coming to Pellissippi State Community College this fall with a photography exhibit celebrating the custom costumes, props and make-up that bring fictional characters to life.

“Amanda Swanson Photography” will be on display in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the Hardin Valley Campus Oct. 29-Nov. 16, with an opening reception with the artist scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29.

The exhibit, the latest installment in The Arts at Pellissippi State, is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Cosplay — short for costume play — is a social activity in which fans dress up like characters from works of fiction such as comic books, video games or television shows. Cosplaying is the practice of constructing or wearing these types of costumes.

Swanson, a professional photographer who graduated from Pellissippi State in 2015, enjoys cosplaying and has been photographing cosplayers for five years, both at conventions and on location. She sees cosplay as both art form and self-expression.

“What we’re doing is portraying the characters we love,” said Swanson, who started photographing cosplayers to show off their hard work and talent with costumes and makeup. “I love the cosplay community because it’s fun to find others also dressed from the same series you are cosplaying from or even as the same character that you are cosplaying as. You get to have that instant connection with all these people you just met.”

While Swanson describes herself as having “a huge passion” for taking portraits of children, dogs and families, as well as for photographing weddings, she decided it would be fun to focus on cosplay portraiture for her first exhibit at Pellissippi State.

“Cosplay is colorful, vibrant and interesting,” she said. “There wasn’t a cosplay club when I went to college here, but I have a lot of friends who are in it now, and I get to hear about it from them.”

“Amanda’s work embodies the kind of professionalism we like to see from our graduates, while also bringing a level of fun that is rare and sure to be appreciated by the Pellissippi State community,” said Associate Professor Kurt Eslick, who recommended Swanson for The Arts at Pellissippi State series.

Swanson’s favorite cosplay photo shoots include a Batman group at a convention in Atlanta and a recent portrait of a cosplayer dressed as Violet Evergarden, the title character from a Japanese light novel series that was adapted into an anime television series now on Netflix.

“I was able to recreate a scene (in “Violet Evergarden”) I was super excited about, a scene that brought me to tears. So being able to recreate that was very special for me,” said Swanson, who highly recommends watching the heartfelt series.

Swanson’s goal for her exhibit at Pellissippi State is to represent as many different characters as possible through the 17×22-inch prints hanging in the gallery and 4×6-inch prints displayed on a kiosk.

“Some characters will be familiar ones that you know and love from comic books and video games, while others will come from movies with princesses and princes, or lands like Rivendell from ‘Lord of the Rings,’” she said. “I love how no matter what size, race, age or gender you are, you’re able to cosplay whatever character you feel inspires you.”

Regardless of which character she’s shooting, Swanson’s aim is the same: to capture special memories and laughter, as well as to give clients a sense of happiness with themselves.

“My style has been described as bubbly, bright, vibrant and magical, but I personally like to describe my work as happy,” she 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.

Local paintings, ceramics combine in upcoming exhibit at Pellissippi State

Green ceramic vase by clay artist Armanda Bonar
This ceramics work by Amanda Bonar of Terra Madre is among the art that will be on display at Pellissippi State Community College’s exhibit “Ashley Addair and Terra Madre: Women in Clay” Oct. 8-26.

Visual artist Ashley Addair of Knoxville joins 15 local clay artists in a new exhibit at Pellissippi State Community College.

“Ashley Addair and Terra Madre: Women in Clay” will be on display at the College’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the Hardin Valley Campus Oct. 8-26, with an opening reception with the artists scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10.

The exhibit, the latest installment in The Arts at Pellissippi State, is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

“It’s going to be a busy show, and it’s going to be full,” said Pellissippi State Professor Jeffrey Lockett, program coordinator for Art. “The artists will take up different spaces within the Gallery, with the Terra Madre works displayed on pedestals and Ashley’s works on the walls.”

Addair is a visual artist and an active member of the arts community in Knoxville. Her paintings are collected internationally.

Terra Madre is a juried group of women clay artists living and working in the Knoxville area. Their work ranges from functional to sculptural and from traditional to whimsical.

“Many Terra Madre members are or have been influential educators in the clay field locally, regionally and nationally,” said Lisa Kurtz, an adjunct fine arts instructor at Pellissippi State whose work will be included in the upcoming exhibit. “They teach or have taught clay at a variety of locations including elementary and secondary schools, colleges, craft centers, workshops and churches.”

Other Terra Madre teachers whose clay work will be featured at Pellissippi State include Amanda Bonar, Judy Brater, Jane Cartwright, Pat Clapsaddle, Valerie Eiler, Lynn Fisher, Anna Maria Gundlach, Pat Herzog, Ellie Kotsianas, Wendie Love, Sandra McEntire, Jackie Mirzadeh, Jessica Stewart and Rikki Taylor.

“Both Ashley’s and the Terra Madre artists’ works showcase immediate reactions to the media they use,” Lockett said. “With clay, you squeeze it and shape it while Ashley’s paintings are often stream of consciousness. Sometimes these works are well thought out. Sometimes they are more spontaneous.”

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.

Road trip through 47 states with upcoming art exhibit at Pellissippi State

See the United States in a different light at “American Miniature,” an art exhibit that combines souvenirs collected on cross-country trips with brightly colored backdrops used to provoke a sense of place.

The collaborative project between artists Nancy Daly and Kim Llerena will be on display Sept. 17-Oct. 5 at Pellissippi State Community College’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Souvenir replica of Mount Rushmore on a blue backdrop.
Mount Rushmore

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with an opening reception with the artists planned for 3-5 p.m. Sept. 17.

The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

“Travel often involves lofty, idealized preconceptions about a place; once visited, the site becomes real, solid, grounded,” said Daly. “Upon leaving, a mass-produced knick-knack becomes personal, a means of transferring part of that place into your home and making it your own.”

These knick-knacks, collected on numerous road trips through 47 states, have been photographed for “American Miniature” against a solid-color background that recalls, sometimes abstractly, their original context — a commemorative plate from the site of the movie “Field of Dreams” sits against a corn-yellow backdrop, for example.

Employing the visual language of product photography, these large format images re-contextualize the cheap souvenirs as aspirational objects, monuments of travel and tourism.

“Ultimately, these souvenirs, like photographs, are more about a personal memory than about a place itself,” said Llerena. “The place becomes merely a backdrop.”

“American Miniature” is the latest installment in The Arts at Pellissippi State this fall. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

Graphic designer kicks off The Arts at Pellissippi State for fall 2018

Graphic designer Aggie Toppins is the first featured artist in Pellissippi State Community College’s art series this fall.

Toppins’ recent work, titled Palimpsests, will be on exhibit Aug. 27-Sept. 14 at Pellissippi State’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the College’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

While the gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, an opening reception for Toppins’ exhibit will be held 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, with an artist lecture to follow at 7 p.m.

Palimpsests is a series of collage-based prints rooted in the practice of psychogeography.

“I use extant materials that pass through my life while traveling to construct compositions that index my experience while attempting to capture the ways experience leaves its trace on me,” explained Toppins, who is head of the art department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Toppins’ recent work is just the first of several offerings in The Arts at Pellissippi State this fall. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State performs Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’

Pellissippi State Community College will produce “The Seagull” a classic play by Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov. Hailed as “one of the best dramas of modern theater,” “The Seagull” is a story about the interplay between love and art set in the Russian countryside at the end of the 19th century.

Performances are April 13-14 and 20-21 at 7:30 p.m. and April 15 and 22 at 2 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

General admission tickets are $12 and may be purchased at www.pstcc.edu/arts/theatre or at the box office prior to the performance.

“The Seagull” is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual community arts series of theatrical and musical performances, visual arts exhibits and lectures. For more information about the Arts series, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

Female metalworking artists exhibit at Pellissippi State

Fe Exhibit Artwork
The “Fe” exhibit at Pellissippi State spotlights female metalworkers.

Celebrate women in art at Pellissippi State Community College during the “Fe: Women Working in Iron, Bronze, Aluminum and Steel” exhibit, Feb. 5-23.

The free exhibit will showcase regional female artists who work in processes that use metal, including forging, casting, welding and assemblage. The community is invited to attend the exhibit, held in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art gallery. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

A reception to meet the artists — Allison Baker, Caroline Covington, Jacqueline Fisher, Cassidy Frye, Holly Kelly, Stephanie Loggans, Erica Mendoza, Marisa Mitchell, Karly Stribling and Erin Tucker — will be 3-5 p.m., Feb. 5. “Fe” is curated by Covington, who is also a faculty member at Pellissippi State.

“The chemical symbol for iron is ‘Fe,’ and one of the basic classifications of metal is whether or not it contains iron — whether it is ferrous or non-ferrous. Thus, ‘fe’ is an elemental component of all of these works, as is being female,” Covington said.

“Each artist brings her own conceptual presence to the show. Metal has endless possibilities; so does our definition of femininity,” she added.

Works in the show range from large-scale abstract assemblages to intimate cast iron garments and figurative bronze castings.

“Fe” is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances, lectures and fine arts exhibits. For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.