Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My art history, Rhode Island Junior College. Reject!

When I wasn't sharing a bottle of Matteus after hours on the ramps, I could be found in the art department
It took me 3 different schools to earn my BFA.  The only college I could afford out of high school was  Rhode Island Junior College, known as Reject (RIJC) in the '70s.  Somehow school authorities didn't take to the nickname, and it was renamed Community College of RI (CCRI), or Cry, sometime after I graduated.  I loved it, it was so-o-o-o much better than high-school, and I immediately gravitated to the art department and became one of the dozen or so students that practically lived in the row of open studios that started with drawing and ended with sculpture. The teachers (Bob Judge, Sherrill Hunnibell and Don Gray) were great, and really went out of their way to help any student serious about their work.

So when I saw the notice that the Knight Campus Art Gallery is looking for art work for a show taking inspiration from the huge concrete monstrosity (and I mean that in a good way) that was the campus, I waxed nostalgic about the place. The ship-like hulk of the building was very intimidating to approach, not the least because access was gained from a long uphill road, or a massive parking lot on another slope. There was always a frigid wind roaring over the summit, but the hill came in handy since my '66 VW's starter was iffy and often I had to roll it and slip the clutch for a jump start.

Inside it was more friendly. We liked the fact that it was ringed with ramps with a big open space in the middle, kind of like the Guggenheim. The cafeteria was at the bottom, and it was fun to spot friends or crushes from our vantage point on the ramp.

Rhode Island Junior college art department, circa 1976

I found a slide of a painting I did while in the art department, back in the days when they actually let painters use oils. Now they're forced to use acrylics, but that's another story. I don't know if I still have this, but I'm tempted to go back to school and try the painting again to see how far I've come. The show's not till the spring, so maybe I'll come up with something by then.

If you're interested in participating, contact VieraLevitt@gmail.com

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