Local artist in spotlight at Coleman Center exhibit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Coleman Center for Arts and Culture in York was filled with excitement Saturday as local artists were given the chance to show off their work.

The opening ceremony in the Altman-Riddick Museum Gallery displayed works in several genres, including painting, photography, drawing, printmaking, fabrics, mixed media, ceramics, sculpture, and stained glass.

Future Coleman Center resident artist Jeff Nilan judged the show. Nilan received his MFA from Indiana University, where he taught as a visiting assistant professor for the past six years.

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Nilan’s photographs and artists’ books have been shown throughout the United States and he has received numerous grants and awards for his work, including Indiana Art Commission and Nexus Press in Atlanta.

When addressing the artists, Nilan said he was impressed by their work and excited to see fresh, new ideas.

“It has been a pleasure to see the impressive range of media and the sophistication of color and material relationships that speak to the strong arts-and-crafts tradition present in this region,” Nilan said. “The spectrum ranges from soft pastels of the large quilt “Luxury in Cloth,” the electrified colors and energetic marks in “Majestic Mermaid,” to the refined subtle lines and subdued palette of the “Brown’s Jewelry basket,”

Unfortunately, Nilan said, this also made it tough to choose winners.

“I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to connect with the artists of Sumter County,” Nilan said. “It was difficult to limit the awards to a small number of pieces, and does not reflect the quality and breadth of the work presented here today.”

This year’s first place winner was “Brown’s Jewelry,” by Mary Jane Everett. Second place was awarded to James Cockrell for his unique chairs made of wood chewed by beavers.

Honorable Mention winners were “Bluebird Day,” by Sheila J. Hull, “Dragon Fire,” by Amanda Maycock and “Arranging Flowers,” by Sue Dial.

Local artists will continue to have opportunities to hone their skills and display their crafts. The center will host a series of workshops beginning the first Saturday in April when University of West Alabama professor Jessica Smith will conduct her class entitled “Hands in Clay.” This class will introduce the

basic methods of working clay. Classes will continue the second Saturday and participants can take home their pieces on the third Saturday.

For more information, and to see the full schedule, please visit the center’s website at http://colemanarts.org/2005/workshops.php, or call