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.

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.