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Barton to host BaRTaRT exhibit
Andy Brown is the guest juror for the first BaRTaRT exhibit at Barton Community College’s Shafer Art Gallery. The exhibit opens Friday, Jan. 18.

For the first time, Barton Community College will host an art exhibit that showcases talent from every segment of the campus – students, faculty and staff. The exhibit’s name is BaRTaRT.

Andy Brown, guest juror, will speak at the Opening Night Awards Reception at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 at the Shafer Gallery in the Fine Arts Building. Awards will be presented to students only; the exhibit runs through Feb. 16 and the community is invited to attend at no charge.

An open-to-the-public painting workshop also is on Brown’s agenda for 10 a.m. the next day in Room T-171 of the Technical Building. There is no cost and participants are encouraged to bring a brown-bag lunch.

Dave Barnes, Gallery director, said the BaRTaRT exhibit presents a “great opportunity for us to show off the quality of artwork generated in our art classes and by the folks who work up here on the hill.

“With new faculty, new programs and renewed student engagement, our Art Area is on the verge of a creative renaissance,” Barnes continued. “The Shafer Gallery is pleased to play a part in encouraging this transformation, as well as giving our faculty and staff an opportunity to share their artistic passions with the community.”

Scott Arthur, the new Barton art instructor, agreed with Barnes’ comments and thanked the Barton Community College Foundation for its support of this new exhibit and juror. Arthur teaches painting, drawing, digital photography and graphic design.

“I have taught at several institutions and am pleased to say Barton is as committed to the arts as any school with which I have been associated,” Arthur said. “A big part of this is the grant from the Foundation. Its generosity translates into opportunities for our artists, which is significant.

“We are very excited to have Andy visit with us,” Arthur added. “He is a talented artist and has life-long experience in the arts. Andy is a dedicated teacher and artist.”

Brown said he is excited to jury the BaRTaRT exhibit because “I am always curious to see new and emerging artists. In every art show in which I have been juror, the work reflects the community.

“I can’t wait to spend time with the artists and artwork in Great Bend – to see the interests, culture and the rich community of the regions.”

As a BaRTaRT exhibitor, Brown also is eager to start a dialogue about his creative processes to “get people excited about all the possibilities that painting holds.”

Brown’s exhibit is titled “It’s in the Kitchen.” His paintings represent the “simultaneity of difference and convergence of my cultural background with that of my partner,” Brown explained. “For me, one site for this interaction is the kitchen. It is often the center of the home – the place where families interact rather than retreat to their individual rooms.

“In the merging of two cultures/kitchens, which my partner and I represent, a path is found where dissimilar objects and spaces interact. In this stew of origins, we slowly uncover a shared identity.”

Defining a cultural identity is “often complex and seemingly elusive because it evolves, shifts and appears to lack definition,” Brown added. “The language we use when discussing cultural identity often emphasizes differences and can get confusing. However, the immediate elements, objects and spaces from which our individuality derives are wonderfully fixed.”

Brown’s painting workshop will focus on traditional Faux Bois techniques. He will discuss their history and demonstrate how to create realistic wood surfaces using glazes of oil paint.

The juror completed his bachelor’s degree in painting in 2005 at Towson University, with honors. He then worked for four years as an English instructor at several universities and schools in Shanghai, China. Brown moved back to the United States and earned his master’s in fine arts in painting and drawing in 2013 at Louisiana State University, receiving the Dean’s Medal for academic excellence.

He then worked as an adjunct instructor of foundations at LSU and is currently a full-time instructor and graduate faculty member at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.