Faculty get creative for annual exhibition

Staff explain the importance of art for expression and social change

Our annual faculty exhibition is here in the Bellevue College gallery space in room D271. Jono Vaughan, this year’s art curator, set each art piece to sit in its own spotlight. The atmosphere is complemented by a table adorned with sparkling water and different cheeses. This is a place to enjoy and admire the artwork of campus faculty, but according to Vaughan, it serves a much higher purpose.

“This gallery is a learning space,” she said. “I believe art is essential in our culture and society. It has the power to drive social justice and change, and that is what we want to teach our students.”

The gallery has multiple mediums of art, sculptures, ceramics, with paintings being the majority of faculty works.

Vaughan has contributed two pieces of her own: a self-portrait, and a sculpture made of fabrics, metals, and human hair from her classroom floor.

Another faculty artist is Ron Tanzi, an art history professor. He shared the meaning behind the colors and elements of his painting “Gislebertus, Paradise, and the Love of Eve.”

“[The painting] is mostly brown, because historical art did not have many pigments to work with. They used material from the earth to create, so I wanted the painting to be representative of that. I also utilize the three primary colors, because they create a diverse world of color. I wanted to add that to refer to creation stories.”

Tanzi connected his idea of creation to many mythical stories, his favorite being the Greek take on how the Milky Way was born. “I hope that all of my ideas shine through and that people get an understanding of the life of art.”

He goes on to a more modern topic of why he believes art is a constant necessity for the human race.

“Creating art has a positive psychological effect within our bodies. It just makes you feel better. Without art, we would have no way to express our emotion, and we would go mad from keeping all of those feelings inside.”

It is not only artists who believe in the importance of artistic expression. Gita Bangera, a dean of the campus science institution known as RISE, shared her opinions and beliefs on the separation between the arts and sciences.

“Many people tend to think that they have to choose either the sciences or the arts; I want to break that wall that stands between them,” said Bangera. “I believe that we should merge our studies and show students how everything has a connection. I invite Jono and her class into RISE, and I try to get artwork displayed in the science building.”

An example of her statement is supported by one of the unnamed art pieces on display. The artist created a software program to deconstruct the image that they chose. The display is the only digital art piece in the gallery.

The faculty exhibition is open until December 16, and their hours are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.