The Harper Center for the Arts transformed its theater into an art gallery featuring works from PC students and current and past faculty. The overarching theme was nature, and the photography and watercolors were the mediums. The artists were former president Dr. John Griffith, his wife Nancy Griffith, biology professor Dr. Jim Wetzel, and sophomores Anessa Pettis and Lal Tan.
The gallery was open to the public and lasted from 4 to 7 p.m. Music was provided by Ludlamshohle, with guitarist James Buckland and pianist Karen Wisser Buckland. Guests enjoyed both hors d’oeurves and the fruits of the artists’ labors.
For freshmen and sophomore students, Dr. Lilly is the only president they know. Dr. Griffith served the college for four years and retired in 2012. Much of his work consists of paintings of pictures taken by his wife; however, his first ever watercolor is of a Presbyterian College hat.
“I did that in 2007,” he said. “I used it as gifts for retiring faculty and retiring trustees, but there are still people who call and ask for it.”
“In many ways I love that, because it has an emotional aspect,” he added.
However, Dr. Griffith always had an interest in art. “Its funny, as a little kid, I could draw anything and make it look just like what was there,” he said. “It was just a gift I had. Then someone said, ‘Why don’t you try watercolors?’ And I took a lesson from the Ringling School for Art and Design, and it was a week-long workshop. I learned all sorts of things I had no idea about.”
When asked if he favored any particular subject, he said, “Mostly it’s the composition of the photograph: the balance, the colors, the lights, that attracts me.”
Dr. Jim Wetzel is a professor of biology, who has blended in his love of the sciences with his love for photography. “I think I’ve had an interest in photography for as long as I can remember; my mother gave me an old Browning Instamatic when I was just a kid,” he said.
“I got seriously about photography when I just started graduate school. It’s a pretty useful tool for a biologist,” he went on to say.
The microphotography pictures located in the library’s 24 Hour study room are the result of the Environmental Photography freshman seminar taught by Dr. Wetzel. This year, however, he received a grant to pursue his photograph along with two students from his seminar: Anessa Pettis and Lal Tan.
Anessa Pettis said of her art, “Whether you’re religious or not, I think God’s beauty is in the world and that inspires my art. He puts all of this in here, and whether or not we see it is up to us. Our art shows what most people might not normally look at.”
When asked what part of nature was her favorite to depict, she said, “I love water most; I’m not so good at insects. Insects kind of creep me out. Water has that natural flow to it, it gives a different depth and perspective on life.”
“A few years back I started playing with pictures with a disposable camera,” she said. “I took pictures of everything. But now, looking at things and trying to figure out how to pose it makes it more unique and more of a skill.”
And Lal Tan perhaps said it best when she succinctly said that her inspiration came from:
“The beauty of nature.”