Calhoun County art show begins at JSU

Eric Taunton, A&E Correspondent

A first-of-its-kind arts show painted its way to Jacksonville State University this past Tuesday. The JSU Art Department and the Jacksonville Arts Council opened the Calhoun County Community Arts Show this past Tuesday, Aug. 27, in Hammond Hall, the first ever art gallery to be held in Jacksonville.

The exhibit showed works from artists across Jacksonville and Calhoun County including pieces from Jake Wolven, JSU student and President of Kappa Pi Arts Honor Society at JSU, and local artistic legend Rita Springer, a 91 year old artist who has been a painter since she was a child and still paints to this day.

“We wanted to up our game of shows here in Hammond Hall,” said Mary Springer, an Arts History professor at JSU and board member of the Jacksonville Arts Council.

Springer, with the help of Morgan Worsham, Arts Gallery Coordinator for JSU, planned and curated the event with the goal of recognizing and appreciating the artistic talent of Jacksonville’s local artists that are underrepresented.

“There wasn’t space in Jacksonville for artists to be heard and seen,” said Springer.

Art styles of all kinds were put on display in Hammond Hall including paintings, glass art, jewelry and photography. One of Rita Springer’s pieces “Hidden Dancer,” is an abstract oil painting that shows a captivating dancer. Her face hidden, barely seen through a hue of dark blue. Her hand and her stomach pink, with a palm tree-like skirt.

“As I started to paint it, I saw a face and when I painted it more I saw a patch of pin that looked like her stomach and then I saw a little blip that looked like her belly button,” said Springer. “And then I saw a patch of pink on the side that looked like it could be her hand.”

TJ Campbell, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in Film and Video, used his love for film and technology to create two unique pieces.

One of his pieces “Interactive Portrait” shows pictures of his face with different emotions with white circles next to them which, if the audience puts their Android device on it, will open a video of a past project he’s done based on the emotion he expresses in each picture.

“I’m interested in getting in touch with the logical and creative part of myself,” Campbell said.

The work of Dr. Karen Hendricks, former chairman of the Art Department and photographer who passed away in May, was also on display.

“We felt that part of this was to honor her,” Mary Springer said.

Works from the Arts Show will be on display from August 27 to September 17 in Hammond Hall.

Photo courtesy of Eric Taunton

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