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"In the Company of Artists" Faculty and Staff Art Show Opens Sept. 26 at the University Museum

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
September 17, 2008

Enchanted Chess, Holly Harris, Languages.
Enchanted Chess, Holly Harris, Languages.

The University Museum opens its 2008-2009 season with an exhibition that showcases the talents of UNH faculty and staff and includes woodcarvings, weavings, pottery and stained glass work in addition to traditional water and oil paintings.

More than 70 employees submitted their pieces for the show “In the Company of Artists: Art and Fine Crafts by UNH Staff”, running Sept. 26 through Dec. 5. 

“The point of the show is for colleagues to share what they do with others,” says Dale Valena, museum curator. “We received submissions across departments—CIS, the languages, the sciences, admissions, housing, the president’s office. It was a terrific response.”

In fact, 73 departments are represented in the exhibit. Holly Harris, an administrative assistant in the Spanish office, submitted her first carving endeavor, a chess set made from basswood, redwood, lace wood, black walnut, mahogany, black coral, and plywood.

Harris has been involved in some form of art all her life. She received a BA in fine arts from Colgate University. “Enchanted Chess” was her first foray into carving. Inspired by her then-young sons, Harris spent two years working on the piece, carving the figures during her boys’ soccer games, at the Durham pool and sailing Downeast.

“They seemed obsessed with fighting and guns at the time,” Harris says of her sons. “I wanted to teach them to use their minds. So, I thought of a chessboard. And I started carving.”
Marble Cabin II, hand marbled paper collage, Sarah Smith, Forestry.
Marble Cabin II, hand marbled paper collage, Sarah Smith, Forestry.

Sarah Smith is a forester by training. A few years ago, she learned how to make marbleized paper and fabric through a course at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester and fell in love with the process.

“I was fiddling with some of my paper scraps and it dawned on me that I could use my marbled paper to create framed paper "quilts" or collages,” says Smith, who works at Cooperative Extension. Her piece “Marble Cabin II” is seen above.
You wouldn’t know from looking at Daniel DeVaughn’s oil painting “1 North Broadway” that he only manages to paint one week a summer. But that’s all he has time for now. Eight years ago, he was a fine arts major at UNH. Now, he works for Computing Information Services.

“Recently I’ve started designing and programming control systems for classroom technology and it has been very challenging to make a user interface that is both powerful and intuitive at the same time,” DeVaughn says. “I find myself being wrong the first 10 times--just like with my painting.”

John on the Bridge, oil on canvas, Deborah Russell, Cooperative Extension.
John on the Bridge, oil on canvas, Deborah Russell, Cooperative Extension.

Deb Russell began seriously pursuing her lifelong interest in art seven years ago. She took classes at UNH while working at the Whittemore School and completed a BFA in painting. She now works four days a week at Cooperative Extension and has Fridays free to work in her studio. One of her paintings was chosen a few years ago for the UNH president's holiday card.

“The ‘In the Company of Artists’ show is a wonderful venue to showcase the diverse talent among the staff at UNH and I welcomed the opportunity to participate,” Russell says. “I hope this becomes an annual event.”

Pack Basket, hand woven splint, Cheryl Dow, Editorial and Creative Services.
Pack Basket, hand woven splint, Cheryl Dow, Editorial and Creative Services.

The University Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the academic year and closed Saturday between semesters and during the summer.


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