Arthur Rose Museum in Orangeburg, SC, Celebrates 140th Anniversary of Claflin University with Exhibition

It seems that the folks in the art department at Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC, have discovered Carolina Arts and at the same time discovered they were not being included in it. They soon found out all you have to do to be included is to send us info about exhibitions, but it will take them some time getting used to our deadlines – a problem for many visual art venues across the Carolinas.

So here’s a slightly late press release about an exhibit they are offering through the month of May:

Exhibit Showcases the Diverse Artistic Talent of Claflin University

The rich artistic tradition established at Claflin University 120 years ago is showing no signs of losing its vitality. A visit to the Arthur Rose Museum will reveal that heritage is alive and well as exhibited by the works of alumni, faculty, staff and students.

The museum’s current exhibit of artwork comes from all sections of the Claflin Family.

Assistant Professor of Art, Jelania Thomas, proudly announced the diverse array of art, featuring paintings, photography and sculptures, among others.

“This exhibit will demonstrate to visitors to the museum the artistic intellect our students possess and how they are continuing the legacy of the Art Department,” Thomas said.

One of the more unique exhibits is students’ construction of animal-themed spaceships using Popsicle sticks and toothpicks. Antoine McCray, a freshman digital design major from Kingstree, SC, built a spaceship in the image of a hammerhead shark.

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Work by Antoine McCray

He credits his professors for inspiring his vision to design such an original piece. “They always give words of advice and encourage us to look beyond the obvious,” McCray said.

Terrance Robinson, assistant professor of art, says the exhibit is truly balanced in terms of genres. “This is for the 140th anniversary of our illustrious institution. It was an exhilarating process to cull all areas of our art curriculum into one exhibit.”

Not to be left out of the celebration of art, Robinson contributed a sculpture called “African Cubism” adding to the considerable list of conversation pieces in the Museum. The sculpture is a twist of planes and cylinders, in an art form known as cubism. His work is harmoniously coupled with African overtones. Robinson said he drew inspiration from both the timeless pieces of Pablo Picasso and Western African tribes in crafting the piece.

Director of the Museum and Assistant Professor of Art, Herman Keith noted that the exhibit also displays the works of Claflin’s most prominent alumni artists. From the iconic photography of Cecil Williams, 1960, to the visionary batik paintings of Dr. Leo Twiggs, 1956, Keith pointed out that this exhibit represents a complete history of the University’s art legacy.

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Work by Professor Herman Keith

In the 1950′s, the Art Department reputation was firmly establish under the direction of the late Arthur Rose. He is credited with elevating the Art Department and led it for nearly four decades with an eye toward cultivating a generation of visionary artists. The momentum of this resurgence is still being felt today.

While the mediums with which past generations of Claflinites used to create art is far different from the advanced digital imaging of today, the results of both avenues are equally brilliant.

For example, Manuel Loera is an aspiring video game designer. To reach that goal, his professors encouraged him to master all facets of the art world from photography to digital painting. Loera is now using programs to render three-dimensional characters.

However, he still has a firm appreciation for drawing with pencil and paper. On display at the Museum is an Anime portrait of a female character he saw in a Japanese film.  Anime is a form of Japanese art used to create cartoons.

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Work by Manuel Loera

The junior digital design major from Ciduad Juarez, Mexico, said the comprehensive art education he is receiving at Claflin will be invaluable in achieving his career goal.

“The professors here help students focus and find what they want to do for a career. They give you the tools to succeed,” Juarez said.

The art exhibit commemorating the University’s 140th Anniversary will run through May 31, 2010, at the Arthur Rose Museum on campus. The Museum is open Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.

For further information contact Herman Keith at 803/535-5337.

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