Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 Arts and Media Festival Captures the Talents of Middlesex Community College Arts Students

The Middlesex Community College 2012 Arts and Media Festival was one of the most entertaining events held in Middletown this summer. The Festival, which began just after classes ended on May 18th, was meant to originally conclude its run at the college on Friday, August 31st, but will now be on display until the end of this week. The event featured student films, screenings of multimedia projects and a variety of artwork. All the work was done by students in Middlesex’s Broadcast Communications, Fine Arts, Graphic Design and Multimedia programs. Most impressively, a majority of the projects featured were done by students in entry-level classes. The festival showcased a large variety of art and media projects. The event allowed each instructor in these programs to share the most skilled, creative and original student works produced in these classes. Suffice to say, art lovers were easily able to find projects that tickled their fancy. “The festival was mainly organized by instructors,” said Art Curator and lead festival organizer Matthew Weber. “We looked over all the projects students submitted during the school year and chose to feature the most exceptional and creative projects. We consider a large variety of projects and choose to feature two or three for each category that will be featured.” Weber discussed the most significant feature emphasized at the festival “Using the fundamentals of art is constantly emphasized in our courses,” he stated. “For example, a lot of art work exhibited combines these basic fundamentals and abstract concepts. These works are great presentations.” I had hoped to visit the festival for the entire summer, and finally got a chance last Friday afternoon. I began my journey by viewing a number of fine arts projects displayed in the Jean Burr Smith Library. I first observed sketches. Students sketched creative and colorful pictures of individuals along with still objects like vases, trees and similar foliage. The most striking feature of these works was student’s mixing of light and dark colors. I then moved on to the projects focused on the use of color theory. These projects displayed how mirroring images of animals, vegetation and shapes use various color schemes to create contrasting images of the same object. These color schemes cannot help but capture the eyes of viewers, and make them question just what makes images different. I next checked out the display of two-dimensional design projects. These projects largely shocased how the dimensions of shapes and objects could combine to form two-dimensional figures. By using a variety of colors and combining differing shapes, students were able to create a number of striking figures. I was most intrigued by a work that divided a wooden soldier into two separate dimensions. The section presenting student photography was very intriguing. The photography primarily consisted of vegetation, animals and nature as a whole, such as images of the woods. Stephen Earle captured a peaceful image of a wooden bridge crossing a stream, with a small waterfall dropping into the stream. The bridge and stream is surrounded by gorgeous trees and vegetation. Another presentation space was the Pegasus Gallery. The gallery featured writing and visual arts projects presented in an advanced graphic design format. A captivating array poetry, short fiction and creative non-fiction make up these projects. One quality example of these projects is a work by Christina Suarez entitled “Being Puerto Rican.” This work features a short creative non-fiction piece Suarez in which she discusses how her Puerto Rican heritage has defined her life. Her story focuses on how the detailed process of making pastels with her family becomes a rich connection to them and her heritage. This piece appears alongside beautiful designs of both Suarez and her family. The emotion found in Andrea Koren’s project “A Perspective View” appealed to viewers both universally and personally. Koren’s emotionally rich project addresses both love and heartbreak in relationships, summed up by the shattering line “Hearts cannot be drawn in perspective view.” The poem appears alongside a striking image of a heart breaking and a women crying. Though the other featured projects in the Pegasus Gallery unfortunately do not measure up to the work of Suarez, Koren and her fellow classmates, this does not mean these projects are not powerful on their own terms. The Perspective Drawing projects feature a number of striking images. These drawings mainly focus on perspective images of homes, particularly living rooms. Finally, the presentation of three-dimensional design projects is best summed up by the statement “ridiculously entertaining. In this exhibit, viewers can find toilet paper made out of scrap paper alongside a purse made out of tape and buttons completely made out of Popsicle sticks. I unfortunately was unable to visit the Niche building when I visited Middlesex. I’m hoping to do so in the next free days so I can see and write on further multimedia projects on display in the Niche. Weber is already working on next year’s festival and is hoping to have it feature additional forms of art. “I’m hoping that the work of students in our poetry, music and theatre classes can be part of the festival,” Weber said. “We want to be able to show the exceptional quality of all our arts students.” I urge anyone who has not attended the Arts and Media Festival to do so before it closes. It is the most entertaining and informative event I attended the entire summer. Please view and support the outstanding talents of the college’s arts students.

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