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Lycoming College's art department held its first gallery opening of the school year on Sept. 2. It features student work from the May Term trip to four Central American countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. The exhibit, located in Snowden Library, will be open until Sept. 10.
The trip, which took place May 12-26, was attended by 12 studio art and art history students, seven of whom have art featured in the gallery. Seniors Tara Clark, Venessa Lechler, Bill Mauro, Joanna Pallas and Lauren Shambach and juniors Valerie Caswell and Lindsay Stern showcased paintings, drawings and photography that profiled their inspiration in each country.
Mauro, whose work consists of photography, drawing and painting, wanted to tell the story of his journey, with a complete beginning, middle and end. Two of his favorite pieces were from the very first and last days of the trip.
His digital print, "Quietly We Stole the Best they had to Offer," was taken on the first full-day of the tour. "It is my first artistic shot of the trip," he said of the picture showing a boardwalk pier. What he liked the most about it was that the end result highlighted the exact colors and textures that he had seen in his camera's viewfinder.
Another favorite is a large painting of a Guatemalan woman, based on a photograph taken while she was taking a break from sweeping. "I was looking through my collection of photos, trying to pick one to turn into a painting," he said. One of the features he was most intrigued by was the negative space in the photo.
One of the more common mantras of the artists was that they had no plan for what they wanted to capture or where their inspiration came from in their work. This was certainly true for Stern, as her digital camera broke before she arrived. "I was basically working with a small point-and-shoot camera," she said.
The technical difficulty certainly did nothing to diminish the quality of her work, as her photos' brilliant reds, blues and yellows stand out in the gallery. "Feathers No. 3" is a close-up of feathers from one of the exotic birds near her hotel room. Two others feature stained glass: one is the glass sections on a church window, the other is the reflections of that glass on the ground, which look like spatters of paint.
Stern says she chose to profile colors in her work because "color is big in the Central American culture and traditions." It's found in everything from clothing to buildings.
May Term courses are offered by the art department every two years. Though the trip is not required for art majors, students are credited for one four-credit course. They can choose from painting, drawing, photography and digital imaging courses. Past art May Term courses have taken students to Greece, Italy, Spain and Jamaica.