John Tyler Community College’s Student Artists Paint Memories for the Children of Nepal
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Released on December 10, 2013
CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – A sense of accomplishment and pride fills the art studio at John Tyler Community College, as students reflect on the projects they’ve just completed. While all class projects are important, this one is special to many of the student artists. That’s because the works they created are gifts for children a half a world away. They are for the Memory Project, an initiative that gives children from all over the world who have been abandoned, orphaned, abused or neglected a personal keepsake.
For the past several weeks, the students in Professor Colin Ferguson’s Painting III and Painting IV classes studied photographs of children from Nepal. Then, using the techniques they learned in class, they put their brushes to work and painstakingly painted portraits of each child. Shy smiles, mischievous grins, and faces full of hope emerged. “I think it’s wonderful that we paint portraits of kids from other cultures and give them as gifts,” says Bob Wynne, one of the student artists. “I think it’s just great that John Tyler does this.” Eleanor Rose, another artist, agrees. “I think it’s good for these children to have something of value. I hope it will help them realize they are valuable.”
In all, 22 portraits were painted by Ferguson and his students, making it the College’s largest single submission to date. In mid-February, the portraits will be sent to the children featured in them. Until then, the paintings will be on display. From now until December 18, 2013, the portraits will be exhibited on the second floor of Hamel Hall at the College’s Midlothian Campus. The public is invited to stop by the campus, located at 800 Charter Colony Parkway, to view the artwork.
After that, the exhibit will be moved to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, located at 815 E. Grace Street in Richmond. “This year, when the opportunity presented itself to exhibit the portraits not only on the College campus but also at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Richmond’s gallery in January, we jumped at it,” says Ferguson, professor of art. “Having the students’ work hanging in a space that participates in Richmond’s First Fridays Art Walk is very exciting.” The John Tyler Memory Project portraits, along with some additional artwork from the student artists, will be on display at St. Paul’s from January 3 – 31, 2014. An opening reception will be held January 3 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. as part of the First Fridays Art Walk.
This is the eighth year John Tyler Community College has participated in the Memory Project. In past semesters, Ferguson and his students have painted portraits of children from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Peru, Uganda, Myanmar, Haiti and Ecuador. The College’s participation in this project is supported by the John Tyler Community College Foundation. Photographs of the portraits may be found on the College’s Flickr page at www.flickr.com/johntylercc. For more information about The Memory Project, visit http://memoryproject.org.
John Tyler Community College is a two-year, public institution of higher education and is the fifth largest of the 23 community colleges in Virginia. With campuses in Chester and Midlothian and off-campus classrooms throughout the area, John Tyler offers quality and economical opportunities for students who want to earn a degree or certificate, transfer to a four-year college or university, train for the workforce, or switch careers. The College, which served more than 14,000 students during the 2012-13 academic year, offers 17 associate degrees, seven certificates, and 34 career studies certificates. The institution also serves 15,000 non-credit students and more than 1,200 companies and government agencies annually through the Community College Workforce Alliance. The College also is committed to sustainability. In July 2010, it received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for Hamel Hall on its Midlothian Campus, becoming the first in the Virginia Community College System to receive such recognition. John Tyler Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
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