Lee to celebrate Dia de los Muertos with exhibit, reception & workshop

BAYTOWN, TX – Lee College invites the community to join its celebration of Dia de los Muertos, which will include an exhibit featuring original artwork created by students and a hands-on workshop that will give participants the chance to make their own art pieces inspired by the Mexican holiday.

Presented by the Visual and Performing Arts Division in conjunction with International Education, the Dia de Los Muertos Art Exhibit will open with a reception to be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27, inside the Performing Arts Center gallery on campus. Houston-based artist Laura Lopez Cano — known for her work capturing the beauty, strength, elegance and pride of Latinas and all women of color — will also guide attendees through the process of creating their own holiday artwork. The reception and workshop are free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Also known as the “Day of the Dead,” Dia de los Muertos is dedicated to remembering the lives and legacies of family and friends who have passed away. Students produced “retablos” — devotional artwork that stems from Latin American culture — as part of the holiday celebration. Their poignant, personal and colorful pieces will adorn the walls of the gallery through Sunday, Nov. 20.

“We’re honoring the past,” said Elena Poirot, an art instructor at Lee College. “Students chose what they wanted to do; some are traditional, some are non-traditional. We want people to come, enjoy, participate and learn.”

For more information about the Dia de Los Muertos Art Exhibit, reception and workshop at Lee College, contact the Visual and Performing Arts Division at 281.425.6821 or ddehoyos@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Mexican American Studies students to unveil mural at Baytown library

BAYTOWN, TX — Students in the Mexican American Studies program at Lee College will unveil a new, hand-painted mural next week at Sterling Municipal Library that draws on the history of Baytown and depicts the stories of those who have made an impact on Latino and multicultural history in the region.

The mural will be revealed in a special reception set for 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, May 4, in the library conference room. The event is free, open to the public, and being presented in conjunction with the Puente Project at Lee College and with the cooperation of Sterling Municipal Library.

A group of 8 students created the mural for “HUMA 2319 – American Minority Studies: Chicano/Latino Art,” an interdisciplinary Mexican American Studies course that examines the diverse cultural, artistic, economic, historical, political and social aspects of minority communities in the United States. Students in the class have explored topics ranging from race and ethnicity to gender, socioeconomic class, sexual origin, and religion.

Much of the public art created in recent years has been more graphical in nature, said Orlando Lara, instructor of the HUMA 2319 course and lead faculty member for the Mexican American Studies program. By contrast, Mexican muralists of the 1920s and 1930s — and later Chicano muralists of the 1970s and 1980s — created artwork that experimented with social and political content. He hopes the students’ mural will begin to bring back the more social and political aspects of art.

“I hope this will help reinvigorate their love of learning, community work and the role that art can play in recovering and acknowledging history,” Lara said. “For the community, both the students and I hope that it will help spur a more robust and urgent public art movement in Baytown.”

Felicite Herrera said creating the mural has given her and her classmates the opportunity to send a message and make people see what is happening in their city. “It’s about empowering everyone and not letting Mexican-American and African-American history be erased,” she said.

For more information about the mural unveiling or the Mexican American Studies program at Lee College, contact Lara at 281.425.6431 or olara.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Student creations to be available for purchase at annual Lee College Holiday Art Sale

BAYTOWN, TX – Shoppers will find nearly 200 unique and handcrafted pieces available for purchase this year at the Lee College Holiday Art Sale, an annual event that features works created by the college’s skilled student artists.

The Holiday Art Sale is set for two dates this season: Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Performing Arts Center Gallery on campus, and Saturday, Dec. 5, as part of the Christmas on Texas Avenue event sponsored by the Art League of Baytown. Both sales will be held from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Artwork to be sold will include ceramics, paintings, prints and other pieces. Cash and checks will be accepted for payments. For more information about the Holiday Art Sale, contact Jennifer Herzberg at 281.425.6484 or jherzberg@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Teacher feature: Art exhibit highlights area instructors

A degree in photography from Lee College paved the way for M.J. Sadler to transition from a career in construction safety to a field she truly loved: teaching art to her own students at Chinquapin Preparatory School in Highlands.

Teacher Feature

Now, Sadler is one of more than a dozen local art teachers whose work will be on display through July 25 as part of a special summer exhibit at the college Performing Arts Center (PAC) gallery. Other featured artists include current and retired teachers from the Goose Creek Consolidated, Anahuac, Liberty and Hull-Daisetta independent school districts.

“We have a lot of talent in our area and I wanted to give them a chance to show their work,” said Jennifer Herzberg, a Lee College instructor of visual arts who devised and curated the exhibit.

The exhibit includes a wide range of artwork — from watercolors, pencil drawings and oil paintings, to ceramics, jewelry and sculpture fashioned from wood, metals and gemstones. Sadler’s pieces are enlarged chalk pastel drawings of an amaryllis and a plumeria flower reminiscent of Georgia O’Keefe and taken from her photographs.

“I love color, so a lot of my work involves bright, vibrant color,” said Sadler, a photographer for nearly 30 years who has never felt happier or more fulfilled than she does in her art classroom with her students. She has even found herself teaching them to also draw big and fill their pages.

“If I find something that catches my eye, that is what I create,” Sadler said. “My days as a student at Lee College are really happy memories; I found my inner artist while I was there. I was very surprised and honored to be asked to contribute to the show.”

The summer art exhibit at the PAC gallery is free and open to the public 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m.-noon Friday. For more information, contact the Visual and Performing Arts Division at 281.425.6821.

Women’s History Month observed

Through music, an exhibit featuring the work of two local female artists and student presentations, Lee College recently recognized Women’s History Month and celebrated the achievements and contributions that generations of women have made to the world.

Instructor Maria Garcia opened the Women’s History Month reception with an explanation of the month’s origins and an overview of important women’s rights issues, such as the salary gap between male and female workers. After a performance by musicians Nick and Amy Novak, who played songs written and popularized by female artists like Carole King, college students shared original poetry and research papers about the image of women and minorities in society and the fight for women’s suffrage.

Adorning the walls of the gallery as part of Women’s History Month is the work of Mari Omori and Camila Labarca Linaweaver, whose art focuses on similar themes of home, the sense of belonging that one searches for and the journey one takes to arrive at that place. The exhibit will be on display through Thursday, March 27.

Born and raised in Japan, Omori is an award-winning multimedia artist, art educator and curator. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree from UCLA and is currently a professor of art at Lone Star College-Kingwood. In addition to photos from a recent trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, and a series of paintings made with a natural red dye often used in the region, Omori’s work in the gallery includes an installation about mother-daughter relationships that features hundreds of cards written, drawn and submitted by people from around the country.

A native of Chile who immigrated to Baytown at age 7 and later graduated from Lee College, Linaweaver is a printmaker and painter. She recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Many of her wood-cut prints on display at the gallery reflect the power and beauty of nature. Her pieces depict a whale in the sea, crashing waves, the colors of the sunset, leaves, trees, flowers and other natural elements.