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October 12, 2012

Artfully alien: Art show at Ivy Tech explores Close Encounters

SELLERSBURG — Appearing a little out-of-this-world, the artwork was actually pretty down-to-earth.

Ivy Tech Community College opened its faculty art show, Close Encounters, on Wednesday.

The theme of the show was loosely based on the film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” But Vernon Town, adjunct drawing and computer graphics instructor, said the theme goes beyond the alien.

“I thought about it in the way that things that necessarily wouldn’t get together in any particular way, but are now in close encounters with each other,” Town said. “Just unlikely candidates getting together in a picture and having encounters of a sort of juxtaposition kind.”

He said faculty were required to include a little extraterrestrial influence, though. Each artist has a self-portrait with alien elements on display.

Melissa Dettlinger, an adjunct photography instructor, said part of the theme’s driving force was to find an idea that could manifest itself in several different media, allowing instructors of all disciplines to participate.

But aside from that, she said it’s important for students to see their professors are practicing artists, as well.

“They don’t get a chance to see a lot of what we do because we are training them to be better artists, so they kind of lose track that we make art as well,” Dettlinger said. “I’ve had students come up to me and say how excited they are to see everyone’s artwork.”

The artwork will stay on display in the Pat Harrison Fine Arts and Design Gallery in Ogle Hall on the school’s campus. The art will remain on display until Nov. 30. The gallery is open to the public Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Town said he’s taught at a number of universities, and the work he’s seen from faculty and students at Ivy Tech stack up to what he’s seen at other colleges.

“I think it’s got a lot of variety,” Town said. “We have a pretty good team of people in our department. To think some of these kids are only in a two-year school doesn’t mean they’re not as talented as kids in other schools. I’ve got students who are every bit as good as any student I’ve ever taught.”

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