January's 'Penn College & You' Celebrates Art
Art and its expanding presence across Pennsylvania College of Technology's campuses are celebrated in the January edition of the award-winning "Penn College & You" documentary television series. The new episode continues the series' exciting 10th season and coincides with the launch of a Web site that details the show's history, current topics, honors and programming notes.
"Visual Art: More Than Meets the Eye" airs on SusCom Channel 2 (the Williamsport-area cable provider) at 7 p.m. Sundays and Tuesdays throughout the month.
"Liking it or not liking it is a personal choice, but being exposed to the different types of art is what the educational process is all about," Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, College president, explains in the program. "(Art) is an added dimension to what we do at Penn College. We're interested in educating the whole person."
The show looks at the Art on Campus initiative, in which the College buys artwork for public display on its campuses, and at the varied instructors including Master Teachers Patrick Murphy, associate professor of advertising art; and Keith A. Vanderlin, instructor of graphic design and photography who expose students to a visual side of life not typically associated with technical education.
The Art on Campus program includes a diverse collection, from oil paintings and watercolors to ceramics and quilts, amounting to nearly 100 works through the Penn College community.
"We're putting it in the hallways, we're putting it in the open public spaces and we're identifying the artists and the name of the piece," Dr. Gilmour explains. "Trying to stimulate expression and conversation about the art."
Whatever the medium, the show reveals how the beauty and hands-on aspect of artwork can cleanse the soul.
"From painting to photography, art in all shapes and forms enhances life," notes Tom Speicher, broadcast production coordinator and host/writer/executive producer of the series. "Even technology has a soft spot for art."
The theme resurfaces often during the 30-minute episode, reinforced by comments from faculty/staff and students alike.
"Education is more than training," notes David M. Moyer, instructor of graphic design and an accomplished wood-engraving artist. "Expanding our horizons, seeing things from a different perspective, is invaluable."
He is joined in the broadcast by faculty colleagues Murphy, whose paintings recently were displayed in the Gallery at Penn College and who celebrates art's "important cultural need relative to life and relative to being" and Vanderlin, who savors the tactile experience inherent in original artwork.
"Most people experience art through reproductions and books, and I see that as more second-hand experience," Vanderlin adds. "To have the original artwork, where you can see the scale, the original size, the surface, the texture, it's a little more firsthand experience with art."
Providing a student perspective is Lauren Schuman, Turbotville, a senior Graphic Designmajor who aspires to teach art history and who interned for three months at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery. Discussing the pervasive use of artistic media in her major, from charcoal to computer graphics, Schuman also appreciates the in-person visits from artists to shows at the College's gallery in the Bush Campus Center.
"You know what I love about the shows? It's that the artists come and talk: They talk about their work; they tell you stories behind their work," she relates. "So, if you just look at the artwork, you may not appreciate it as much if you didn't know the stories."
Also commenting is Thomas Zimmerman, associate professor of psychology, whose insight sums up the show's themes of the artist's therapeutic expression and the audience's transforming appreciation.
"I think that the benefit for anybody looking at art, whether we call it 'high art,' 'low art,' 'pop art' . . . the benefit for anybody, I think, is to simply become aware of the way in which the person who executed the art has presented that," he says. "If I look at art, I am moving in the direction of coming to appreciate another view, so it helps expand my view."
Joining Speicher this season is Christopher J. Leigh, a digital media developer, and videographer/editor/executive producer of "Penn College & You."
Other Pennsylvania cable systems airing the show this season are: Altoona, Danville, Erie, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Lehighton, Lewisburg, Mansfield/Wellsboro, Milton, Reading, Watsontown, Wilkes-Barre and York. "Penn College & You" also is broadcast nationwide to all DISH Network subscribers on Universityhouse Channel 9411 on the first Saturday and Sunday of the month at1 p.m. and 6 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.