Estrella Mountain Faculty and Staff Take Their Art to Work

May 7, 2004- Estrella Mountain Community College faculty and staff provided living proof that the arts are truly for everyone, when they filled the campus's multiple gallery spaces with their own creative works for the first annual Point of View, Estrella Mountain's first college art show this week. The show will run through June 2004.The exhibit quality museum cases display a wide variety of artistic works, from a collection of ceramic leaves to an intricately detailed wedding gown. While the show entrants include a large share of pottery and ceramics, other media includes oil on canvas, digital media, photography, quilting, acrylic on canvas, sculpture, and watercolors. The majority of faculty and staff members who contributed pieces to this inaugural show were not artists by profession, but heralded from a number of divergent disciplines, including professors in the area of English, Computer Technology, Psychology, Communications, and Business, as well as administrative staff members from areas as vastly different as Information Systems to Facilities Management.The art show invited the artistic talents of all members of Estrella Mountain Community College's faculty and staff members and was the first of its kind. Betty Vickrey, a photographer as well as a Computer Technology professor, was part of the team that instituted the show as one more chance to bring an awareness of and participation in the arts to the Far West Valley. "I was pleasantly surprised," she says. "I didn't expect this response. I thought we might fill one gallery space - but we filled all of them. I'm just glad I wasn't a juror. There were so many things submitted - I know how challenging it would have been to choose." Vickrey, whose background in Computer Technology and digitalmedia is supplemented by nearly twenty years as an art teacher, describes the college's plans to institute a show next year for student works, another new outlet for artistic expression on the campus.These and future shows will complement rather than replicate the partnership efforts between Estrella Mountain Community College and the impending West Valley Fine Arts Center, which will be located adjacent to the campus. Future arts endeavors at Estrella Mountain will be part of a collaborated effort among fine arts partners that will expand fine arts opportunities rather than duplicate them in this region. According to Joyce Jackson, Senior Associate Dean, Fine Arts, it was the input of community members in addition to faculty and staff that has helped to guide the College's fine arts instruction and programming. "They helped us to understand how to integrate their needs into the college's fine arts future," Jackson says.For show participant Susan Staal, an Office Coordinator with the Facilities Management department, this was an exciting opportunity to reveal a piece of herself she rarely gets to show in her daily work life. "The work of others is inspiring," she says, "seeing all that others can do, bypeople that you had no idea were artists." As a newcomer to the world of ceramics and pottery, she finds it an honor to see work featured next to those with years of experience. "Ceramics and pottery is just a whole new area of self expression. This is where I am- and then I see the work of others, and that's where I want to be." Staal's favorite entry is the first piece she successfully threw on her own in her pottery and ceramics class at Phoenix College, also part of the Maricopa Community College District. "I call it my Victory Bowl. For me, it was a victory." Much of the artists whose work has been featured in this showing would echo her sentiments.The faculty and staff's artwork will be on display until June 2004. This and future arts events are a part of Estrella Mountain Community College's public art displays, one piece of the college's commitment to raising awareness in the West Valley, and ensuring that art is for everyone.Estrella Mountain Community College is one of the Maricopa Community Colleges. Located on Thomas and Dysart Roads in Avondale, Estrella Mountain and the SouthWest Skill Center offer interest-specific arts education, transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training to residents in the West Valley. Maricopa County Community College District is one of the largest community college districts in the nation and serves more than a quarter million students annually. For more information, visit or # # #