Over the summer, the class and studio spaces of the fine arts program at Craven Community College (CCC) were expanded. “The expansion of the classrooms and the new outside studio area provide more room for students to explore their ideas,” said Betty Hatcher, dean of liberal arts and university transfer. Hatcher said that fine arts facilities improvements allow the college to better serve students who want to pursue a degree in art.
According to fine arts instructor Elizabeth Spencer, the increased room has doubled the capacity of classes and enables faculty to teach additional methods using more tools. Faculty and students now have larger classrooms, additional rooms for tools and equipment, and an outside studio area. According to Spencer, the larger classes are already filled, which demonstrates the increased interest in CCC’s fine arts program.
Another opportunity for students to explore a variety of artistic media and methods is the visiting artist program. Each semester, one or two professional artists visit CCC to share their knowledge, techniques, creative process, and wisdom gained from his or her career as an artist. On September 10, nationally-renowned sculptor Bruce Niemi spent the day with instructors and students from the art and welding classes. Together, they created a 6-foot high sculpture out of 10-gauge carbon steel.
Also that day, students listened to a lecture by Niemi titled, “Making a Living as an Artist: The Business Side of Art.” Niemi shared advice about marketing, resumes, building relationships, and running a business. In sharing his advice, Niemi stressed that students should have a passion for what they do and be disciplined in their work and craft.
“I’m very glad Mr. Niemi visited our campus because it gave me a good opportunity to see the sculpting process in action,” said Brandon Hushea, second year fine arts student from Havelock. Hushea is graduating in May 2015 and plans on transferring to a four-year university to complete a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. Hushea said, “It was neat that a well-known sculptor asked for input from students during the creation of the sculpture.”
CCC recently installed two Niemi sculptures on the New Bern campus as part of a 19-piece collection donated by Dr. Jim Congleton. “Eye to the Soul” is a 10-foot high stainless steel sculpture located at the entrance of the campus. “Duet” is an 8-foot high stainless steel sculpture located on the northwest side of the Business and Information Technology (BIT) building.
Starting in 1986, CCC offered college transfer music classes. By 1990, the college added art and drawing classes. In 1999, the college started offering the associate in fine arts (AFA) degree, in both music and art. Art and music courses transfer to the 16 public universities in the University of North Carolina system.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.