Photos by Bruce McDaniel
By Virginia Johnston and Mary Ventura
A small crowd gathered in the Higgins Art Gallery on Monday, April 22 to listen to personal stories and poems presented at the Sea Change reading. Student artwork lined the walls as each presenter shared a piece from their own portfolio.
This event was a chance for the community to connect through their pieces and to show off their work.
“It’s so important for students to know that they are creating art, poetry, fiction and nonfiction within a larger community of peers who share their passions,” said Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) professor Rebecca Griffin, who is in charge of the Sea Change magazine.
After a few opening remarks by Sea Change editor Sarah Austin, the mic was left to the featured writers of the event.
Before an audience of roughly 20 attendees, several artists stood to face the people as they presented their work one at a time. Only a few readings by artists were planned for the event but all artists were welcome to participate.
The first piece presented was a lighthearted visual poem by Debra Murphy. The following readings ranged from humorous and playful stories to tear-jerking personal narratives, inspired by the artists’ own lives or from those around them.
Every individual sat still in their seat as their eyes remained locked on the face of each reader. The crowd chuckled as readers like Alicia Soderberg joked about peanut butter and listened intently as Alannah Ledford poured out to the room her past hardships including addiction.
Following each presentation was a loud applause from the audience. The presentations lasted about an hour before visitors and artists eagerly retreated to the lobby to reflect on the individual pieces.
“It’s awesome to put face to artwork,” said Austin.
All the pieces presented were originally put through a blind submission process by the Sea Change class, but the personality of each artist shined through during the readings. Some preferred the podium and mic stand while others chose to hold the microphone up to their face. Some scrolled through their readings on their electronics, while others held a physical copy in their hand.
Leslie O’Neil Peters shared a few words about her piece as she chatted in the lobby after the readings. She explained that her last minute story was inspired by her dear friend Allyson. The genuine and organized rhythm created a relaxing yet exciting environment inside the gallery.
In addition to the Sea Change reading event, the Higgins Art Gallery has been displaying student art since April 3 and will continue to be shown until May 6. All the student art exhibited has been chosen by professors specifically for this art show.
“I would say the main purpose of the gallery is to bring art that one will not see at any other gallery on the Cape,” said Nathalie Ferrier, director of the gallery for the past four and a half years. “I think it’s very important for the school, to show what the art department offers to the community.”
Ferrier expressed that the gallery and the events held within provide a place for students to come, think and let go of what may be weighing them down.
“I think it’s important to display student artwork so that everyone will have a better idea of the talent that exists right here at Cape Cod Community College,” she said. “Showcasing the talent of our student artists also helps our students to bond over their creative interests.”
Austin predicts that the design of the next Sea Change edition will be completed by the end of the 2019 spring semester and revealed that the magazine will be released midsummer.
When referring to this spring showcase, Griffin concluded that, “This is a time when creativity seems to really flourish on our campus.”