Two of the paintings featured in the Exhibit: Chesapeake City native Taylor Stanley’s “Living in a Hollow Home” (left) draws on her family’s experience as caretakers of a local cemetery and explores themes of trauma and mental illness. Kat George’s “The Author” (right) is a piece of her Capstone exhibit that explores the theme of people seeking connection and defining their meaning through emotional journeys.

On Friday, May 7, Cecil College’s 2021 Spring Capstone Exhibit will go live, virtually showcasing a selection of students’ art projects. The Exhibit will highlight students’ artistic works from the art and design program and the visual communications program in the Arts and Communications Virtual Student Exhibit featuring the 2021 Spring Capstone Exhibits.

Capstone Projects are long-term investigative projects that culminate in a final product or presentation. Due to the pandemic, this year’s exhibit will be in a virtual format.

“Nothing replaces seeing artwork in person,” said Cecil College Professor Lauren Vanni, one of the Exhibit’s faculty organizers. “But we feel getting the work out there digitally is the next best option if we can’t host in person. Connecting the artist to their viewers is a challenge in an online format as well.”

The Exhibit will feature a variety of art from Cecil’s Capstone students — students who have taken at least 18 credits of art and are looking to build their portfolio — as well as a number of works from other Cecil College art students.

The works in the exhibit were selected by the art department’s faculty and represent the wide range of art forms being created at Cecil, including drawings, paintings, photographs, designs, digital illustrations, sculptures, ceramics, and video.

“This year’s capstone exhibits show the range of media and techniques students are working with and highlight interdisciplinary approaches to artmaking and exploration,” Vanni said.

Vanni called attention to many of the Capstone pieces and how bring together the artists’ experiences and inspirations into one work. Works like Cecil-native Mary Jo Fitz’s ceramic vessels, which draw their inspiration from nature and from ancient myths to explore themes of shelter and resilience within vulnerability.

The Exhibit also includes works from Cecil’s Visual Communications Capstone students. Marketing designs, branding, infographics, web banners, and more will be included in the Exhibit, along with websites and video presentations created by the Capstone students.

The Capstone Exhibit is not Cecil’s first foray into digital shows. According to Vanni, Cecil has organized eight different virtual shows since the start of the pandemic, including student shows, group shows, and even a call-for-entries exhibit.

While the virtual format is a change from traditional art exhibitions, it has allowed the exhibits to capture a wider audience, as Cecil’s prior exhibits totaled over 2000 viewers.

While it is hard to maintain the same artist-viewer connection as a live exhibit, Vanni noted, the virtual format comes with some benefits. Namely, the speed with which the virtual shows can be put together and the fact that virtual installations do not require time-consuming events such as travel, installation, or deinstallation.

Thanks to the positive response to the virtual exhibits, the College has already started conversations about continuing to put together virtual exhibits even after in-person events can once again resume.

The exhibit can be viewed on the Cecil College Online Gallery (https://arts.cecil.edu/2021-spring-exhibit/).

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