Though February is a month of slick ice and grungy slush, the textures offered by two gallery exhibits at at Carroll Community College are more colorful — think gently drooping taffy-colored sculpture and warm, grainy photo emulsion prints.
The opening reception for the two gallery shows at Carroll Community College is slated for Friday, Feb. 15 from 5-8 p.m. in the Gallery of the Scott Center on campus, 1601 Washington Road, Westminster.
Lauren Fritts will display work born during a summer spent teaching creative arts in Ghana in a solo show titled “Lauren Fritts: Journey To Ghana” in the Babylon Great Hall. She is an alumni of the college and Towson University and her students will recognize her as a teacher at South Carroll High School.
Facing the summer of 2018 with no classes, Fritts looked for a way to be involved in community service. She stayed with a host family in Ghana where she worked with elementary-age students and residents of a disability village teaching creative arts and writing curriculum that included arts.
As an artist, she recorded her time through photography, focusing on the people she met and interacted with “rather than a sterile documentary,” she said.
“The biggest thing I took away ...was just the warmth of the people and their contentedness in their own culture.”
She wanted to be a part of the inner workings of a community in a rural area. “The last thing I wanted to do was go on a tourist trip.”
The photographs are included in the show alongside other works that branch off of her experience in Ghana including a textile weaving, a wood block print and a lenticular print that gives the image a shifting, 3-D quality as the viewer moves around it.
As a high school educator, “I think one of the most important things you can do as a teacher is continue your own practice,” she said because it challenges her to continue learning.
Having a show at her alma mater is exciting. “To be continuously connected in the community I’ve grow up in is definitely really important to me,” she said.
Fritts was also a winner of the 2016 CCC holiday card contest with a linoleum cut print.
More information about Fritts’ works is available at www.laurenfritts.com or Lauren Fritts Art on Facebook.
Two collaborators, Braxton Congrove and Audrey Van De Castle brought their sculptural works together for “PLAY.”
It zooms in on “oft taken for granted relationships; adult/child, male/female, work/play,” according to a news release from the college. The artists’ chosen materials also show contrast — Van De Castle’s durable wood and metal alongside Braxton’s cardboard and paper-mâché.
Curator of Collections and Exhibits Jessi Hardesty said that the pieces are playful in palette and scale, “almost like toys, but toys that exist in an adult world.”
Some are huge, brightly-colored or flocked texture. Some spill over into spray paint on the walls and floors.
The sculptures create “a space to navigate like you’re walking through a fictional world,” Hardesty said.
More information about Congrove, who is based in Richmond, Virginia, is available at www.braxtoncongrove.com.
Van De Castle, who is the Makerspace Shop Manager at Stanley Black & Decker in Towson, is based in Baltimore.
Hardesty said her students will have an opportunity to talk with female artists who have all approached their careers from different angles.
All of the artists showing at the college this semester have day jobs that incorporate art in fields like tech and education and studio work.
“They’ll be able to see there isn’t just one route people can go,” she said.
Bringing in artists at different points in their careers is important because while work by well-established artists is educational and inspirational, “sometimes if they’re only seeing that level of art, it can seem really unattainable,” she said.
She is excited for them to meet Fritts who she said is an alumni who has shown out-of-the-ordinary motivation since earning her AA degree at Carroll.
“It makes me really proud to see a student going out there with such tenacity,” she said.
The exhibits run until March 22.
Later in the semester, two more shows will go up in the Gallery on April 46: “Continuum [The Illusion of Edges]” featuring paintings and works on paper by Priya Vadhyar and “Nilou Kazemzadeh: Catalyst.”
More information and hours are available at www.carrollcc.edu or by calling 410-386-8256.