Twenty-eight faculty and staff showcase talents
Gretchen Burns | Managing Editor
To an unknowing passerby, the new exhibit “Collective Fusion II” in the Harry Krug Gallery of Porter Hall would be just that, another art exhibit.
To Dixie Smith, associate professor of biology, the exhibit is a great way for Pittsburg State friends to get to know each other better and in ways than across a meeting table.
Collective Fusion II spotlights the artistic talents of 28 faculty, staff and friends of the PSU Gallery. It exhibits a tremendous range of media, from paintings to polymer clay.
Smith submitted one acrylic painting to the exhibit and says she wished that she could have completed more, but she ran out of time.
“I just couldn’t get the last one finished,” she said. “It is very hard to find time to keep up hobbies along with work and family, so for many years drawing and painting, along with music, have had to take a back seat.
“Fine arts are very important in my life, however, and I am trying to find more time for them. Making a commitment to this exhibit helped me do that.”
Alan Ross, curator of the Sperry House in Pittsburg, suggested the idea for Collective Fusion to S. Portico Bowman, gallery director, many years ago in an exhibit called “Pittsburg Collects.”
“This was a very interesting exhibit of all sorts of wonderful and sometimes quite odd, things that people collect, but beyond seeing the odd collections, what became most valuable was making deeper connections with the people who live in this community as we gathered to have conversations about their collections,” Bowman said. “Without the exhibit as a catalyst for this, those conversations would not have occurred.”
Bowman made a general call for entries in the fall and set a deadline of early November. By setting the early deadline, Bowman hoped to minimize the potential complications that generally come with organizing a large group of people.
According to Bowman, the exhibit is all-inclusive and non-juried. Nothing was edited. This is called “salon style.”
“Back in the ‘old days,’ art academies would exhibit artwork wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling coverage. Certainly, I am willing for our exhibit to grow to that extent, and although this year we had to do some stacking, we were able to sustain a fairly contemporary style of exhibition,” Bowman said. “The kind we are used to with one linear row circumnavigating the space, but we will continue to call it salon-styled, so that we can grow in the direction of wall to wall, ceiling to floor.”
Bowman says that one piece that stood out to her was by Russ Rosmait, professor of engineering technology, entitled “Salt and Pepper.”
“I won’t say anymore about it because I want people to see it and experience it themselves, but it is very humorous, surprising and also beautifully made,” Bowman said.
Suzanne Arruda, instructor in biology, says she is excited to be showing her three watercolors in the exhibit because the exhibit helps bring together people on campus.
“I’m excited about showing my work in a non-juried format for people to enjoy or ignore as the case may be,” Arruda said. “It’s nice to promote art around the rest of campus. I like that this brings other people on campus together to share their talents. It shows everyone that the faculty and staff are multifaceted. And speaking as a biologist, the traditional biologist was always trained to observe and draw in nature.”