"Optic Nerves" is a cyanotype and graphite piece by Janet Fine.

This week, faculty and staff from Cabrillo College’s visual arts department will get their chance to shine with the opening of the school’s first art exhibit of the year.

“Adaptations: Cabrillo College Art, Photography & Art History Faculty & Staff Exhibition” will open virtually Monday via the gallery’s website.

The show will include screen printing, painting, ceramics, photography, jewelry, metalwork and more. 

Program coordinator Victoria May says that the college tries to hold some type of faculty show every year. This gives teachers and staff the opportunity to display their work, but also lets students and the greater community see what these artists create outside of the classroom.

NATURAL WORK Joe Cosentino’s “A Swing and Miss” is a sculpture made with a double bit axe, steel, and stainless steel. —Joe Cosentino

“Sometimes, teachers tend to be modest in sharing their own work,” May said. “This [show] is an opportunity for people to see what these people pour their heart into, while finding some inspiration.”

Much of the work that comes out of these types of shows can be very personal, she added, which is not something students regularly see from their instructors.  

“Remember when you’re a kid, seeing your teacher outside of school, in a store or something?” May said. “And you’re like, ‘Oh, they go shopping, too?’ I think that can still happen at the college level. It’s awesome to see what your teachers practice… their style, the way they work, how they approach subject matter. That in itself can be fascinating.”

May says that while the show does not have a specific theme, she has noticed a lot of nature-themed work, including pieces on how people are concerned about or taking solace in nature, and how humans interact with it.

“We’ve also had a few pieces that are about Covid,” she said. “It’s been very interesting to see how people are dealing with that… in indirect ways, they’re examining where they are, the psychological fallouts.”

“Adaptations,” as well as the gallery’s next show will be virtual. Because the initial plan from the college was to be online for the Fall 2020 semester, Cabrillo Gallery had applied for and received a grant for an extensive lighting replacement project for their facility, located on the bottom floor of the library building at the school’s Aptos campus.

“Since we were closed anyway, we thought, ‘Let’s just do this,’” May said. 

BIRD HOUSE Gail Ritchie’s “Making a House a Home” is a ceramic work with underglaze, glaze and prismacolor.

When the project is complete, May, along with Gallery Director Beverly Rayner and school officials will decide on whether they should open the space for the annual “12×12” exhibit at the end of the semester. 

“We’ll have to reassess, and see where we are,” May said. “We just want to be sure to do things in the safest way possible.”

Cabrillo Gallery’s next show, entitled “Moving Images: pause… restart” will launch Oct. 4. The online show will feature short videos and other types of moving artwork, themed around “restarting after a hiatus… and how you deal with that,” as May explained.

The show will be juried by Clark Buckner, Director of Telematic Media Arts in San Francisco. Buckner and the gallery have released a call for artists to submit; entries are limited to the first 100 works submitted.

May said the gallery is grateful to the local community for their support this past year.

“We were really heartened by the response of showing online last year,” she said. “There was such an outpouring of support. We’re so glad it worked out.”

For information about current and upcoming shows, artist talks and more, visit the gallery’s website.

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Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.


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