By Dan Elliott
The end of another spring semester is almost upon us, which means the Midcoast Campus will be featuring their yearly art exhibition. The show, which will be held on Thursday, April 26, will feature works of art from students enrolled in such classes as Photography, Drawing I, and Introduction to Digital Imaging.
Despite featuring a large prominence in such technical programs as Fire Sciences and Nursing, the burgeoning Midcoast Campus has had a long-standing relationship with studio art. The exhibit has been a recurrence since 2013, and since then students have been presenting and enjoying artwork from themselves and each other. Originally featured in the lobby of the Orion Hall, the same building where the multipurpose room used by many these studio art classes is located, the exhibit was moved to the L.L. Bean Learning Commons. There, the larger area and additional equipment installed for displaying the works of art help facilitate a better viewing experience for visitors.
An estimated 50 to 80 people are expected to be in attendance for the event this year, comprised largely of students, family members, and faculty. The show will be open to the public, with local residents and art enthusiasts alike anticipated to drop in and enjoy some of the student-focused array of works, done in a myriad of different mediums, ranging from traditional watercolor and oil painting to photography and digital art, with a few compositions featuring found objects entered in the show as well.
Jim Whitten, Dean of the Midcoast satellite campus, has been known to purchase selections of the students’ work for inclusion in the collection on display in his office. Contact information for each piece on exhibit will be made available for interested parties attending the show who wish to purchase anything that happens to catch their fancy.
This year’s show will also feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony welcoming three new additions to the Midcoast Campus, the installation art pieces by sculptor Thomas Berger. Beacon readers will recall first hearing of the installation work previously in the March 27 issue, which chronicled the arrival of the towering stone pieces “Destination,” “Ambition” and “Thought.” Though Berger will not be attending the reception, the event will feature essays and other written works by students who have been inspired by the granite monoliths, which symbolically represent their aspirations and futures, both on the Brunswick campus and beyond.
The ceremony will be followed by a gala featuring refreshments which include fruit and vegetable trays and a mini-dessert bar filled with a cadre of sweet confections.
Michael Branca, Fine Arts program coordinator for the Midcoast Campus, explains the significance behind the focus of this year’s exhibition, stating that the investment is part of a larger initiative to make the college more welcoming to visitors and students alike. He continued, stating, “The more art you have, inside and out, the better this campus will look.” Originally beginning his career at Southern Maine Community College as an instructor on the South Portland Campus, Branca also taught at the now-defunct Bath Satellite Campus before coming on board at the Brunswick site as its program coordinator.
In addition to Berger’s commissions, there are also two student-created outdoor installations: an interactive percussion piece and bench set, both centrally located near the Learning Commons building. Collaborative group projects in this fall’s Introduction to Visual Arts class will see this number of outdoor art projects increase as well.
The exhibit had also planned to feature student musicians and performers for the event, though at the time of writing, it had been reported that there had yet to be any registrants. This may be due, in large part, to conflicting schedules with performers, as another show is taking place around the same time, to be put on by Midcoast Theater students as part of their final project of the semester.
Regardless, this year’s art exhibit at the Brunswick Campus will be the highlight of the spring, featuring plenty of fine art, food, friends, and most importantly, lots of fun for all who drop by.