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NECC Art Students Collaborate with Bowdoin College Museum

Submitted by on May 8, 2018 – 4:28 pm

Northern Essex Community College students on the campus of Bowdoin College. (near the lion left) Dianne Pappas, art faculty and (right) Michelle Carter, art faculty. (Front left to right Jancarlos Infante, of Lawrence, art and computer science; Glen Chickering of Franklin, NH, general studies with a concentration in art; Christine Eichhorn, of Salem, NH, Dual Enrollment from Salem, NH; Sierra Gibbas* of Amesbury, art; and Cassandra Ellson, of Salem, NH, art and communication.

Five Northern Essex Community College Commonwealth Honors students, in an unusual collaboration with Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) have created their own mini-exhibits based on objects they found of interest in that museum’s collection.

The exhibits are on display now through Tuesday, May 15, in the Harold Bentley Library on the Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St. A reception will be held Thursday, May 10, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The participating students are: Glenn Chickering of Franklin, NH; Christine Eichhorn of Salem, NH; Cassandra Ellson of Salem, NH; Sierra Gibbas of Amesbury; and Jancarlos Infante of Lawrence.

The students, all of whom are studio artists, made three trips to Bowdoin College this semester to get a behind-the-scenes experience as to how the small liberal arts college museum, with 20,000 original works in a wide array of art mediums from around the world, curates its collections.

The BCMA prides itself on being a “laboratory for creativity”, that “strives to be open and accessible to those from near and far,” said NECC Art Professor Dianne Pappas, who is on the advisory council for the museum and was invited by the directors to develop a collaboration between the museum and her students at Northern Essex.

“It was important to me that the Northern Essex students do more than just visit,” she said. “I wanted them to engage in all aspects of what a teaching museum’s collection has to offer college students.”

The students researched objects of their choosing from the BCMA collections and curated their own exhibitions.

For example Chrissy Eichhorn’s exhibit titled, “What Brings You Comfort?,” examines the Japanese beads and ancient amulets and dolls created centuries ago to bring comfort to their owners.

“Curating is such an important skill for artists to learn, but is not often accessible in a visual art curriculum, especially at a two-year institution,” said Pappas. “Curators study the history of art, researching and interpreting artistic objects and creating exhibits in galleries and museums.”

NECC students met with the curators of the museum, chose objects that were viewed at the museum and developed a “point of view” about what a viewer might like to see and understand about the objects they were drawn to.  Two NECC students even included their own work to underscore their relationship to the museum’s objects.

While the actual objects are not part of the exhibits, the students did get to study them up close and captured them in digital prints.

In addition to participating in this unique collaboration, students will receive Honors Project credit through the Commonwealth Honors Program at NECC.  The students will also represent their work at the Honors Poster Session following Awards Convocation on Tuesday evening, May 15th.

Northern Essex offers a general studies: art & design associate degree.  It prepares students to pursue a career in a variety of fields in art, or transfer to earn your bachelor’s degree. Students can chose to study fine arts, multimedia, photography, or graphic design/visual communications.

For additional information contact admissions at 978-556-3700.