• Monmouth Arts

Discovering a World of Art at Brookdale Community College

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

By Marie Maber, Professor, Art Department, Brookdale Community College

Brookdale Graphic Emily Weiss used an aesthetic from the Russian Constructivists to create a tourism poster for Asbury Park.

The Center for the Visual Arts Building at Brookdale Community College (BCC) has three floors dedicated to nurturing artists of all ages and from all over Monmouth County in many varied disciplines. There are studios dedicated to Metals and Jewelry, Ceramics and Sculpture, Darkroom and Digital Photography, Digital Animation, Graphic Design, Oil Painting, Drawing, Interior Design, and Architecture. On any given day, a tour through the building could reveal a stunning variety of artworks on display in the corridors or in the classrooms. For example, Brookdale Graphic Design student Emily Weiss took an assignment to a delightful, albeit politically provocative place, when she used an aesthetic from the Russian Constructivists to create a tourism poster for Asbury Park.

Students in the BCC Interior Design Program draw by hand and then load those drawings into Autocad, from which they are printed out and cut using a laser cutter. Interior Design Student Linda Ronan brought a floor plan into the third dimension with startling, intriguing results.

Fine Arts alumni Ashley Prior, who graduated in May, said of her experiences at work in Brookdale’s ceramics studio, “Shaping clay gives me a sense of order and balance in all my pieces. When painting or using other media you must recreate one side to look like the other in order to achieve symmetry. On the wheel it happens naturally, which to me is the most beautiful part. As my hands are moving the clay I am thinking of nothing but what it feels like. No thoughts of what I have to do today or tomorrow are on my mind. Finding pottery was one of the best things that has happened to me,” she said. “The second I started using clay, my creativity sprouted.”

Art incubated on hard drives springs to life on double screens in dedicated classrooms within Brookdale’s Digital Animation Studios. Images from a Digital Sculpture class can leave one wondering where the computer image ends and reality begins.

Kathleen Eovino, a continuing education student from Manasquan, has been using the jewelry studio at Brookdale for 20 years. "Jewelry is my art form," she says. "I express myself in metal, not pencil or charcoal." Her designs are richly varied not only in their forms and textures but also in the stories they convey; her subjects range from Alice and Wonderland to gun control. Eovino appreciates the camaraderie in the CVA building. "There are young kids right of high school here, and we all learn from each other," she says. "We've become like a family."

Lois Poucher, another lifelong learner at Brookdale, creates more traditional types of jewelry; for example, she sets stones – her way of adding color – into original pin and earring designs. Poucher has made many pieces with a relatively new material, Precious Metal Clay (PMC), which she can model into an endless variety of forms and onto which she also sets stone. Once fired that PMC becomes fine silver.

Brookdale's staff has opportunities to showcase their own creativity in the CVA Building. Technical staff member Kevin R. Burkitt stored over 100 photographic images of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on his home computer’s hard drive. Burkitt’s incredibly moving images were taken in the dark of night, between the hours of 10 PM – 4 AM, in small towns from Sandy Hook to Manasquan following Hurricane Sandy’s destruction. A few months before the fifth anniversary of the storm, Burkitt agreed to share 50 of those images and print them with the help of a $500 mini grant awarded by Monmouth Arts matched with funds from Brookdale Foundation’s Visiting Artist Program. The resulting show, entitled “91 days; countless nights,” drew record crowds to the CVA Gallery until it closed in November. “Before the grant there was no intention of sharing these photographs, said Burkitt. "I am truly grateful that my work was seen and was well received by the everyone that came.”

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