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Town and Gown Art Exhibit on Life, Aging and Dying on Display at Greenville Museum of Art
By Crystal Baity
GREENVILLE (09/08/2010) — Two quilts stitched by dozens of community members and East Carolina University honors students and the creative works of medical students –all reflecting the ebb and flow of life, aging and dying - is featured in a new exhibit at the Greenville Museum of Art.
The exhibit, “Many Hands Make Community” will be on display through Oct. 8.
The exhibit stems from a project that began in 2009 that brought nationally-known textile artist Deidre Scherer to Pitt County for a series of public forums, workshops and student coursework examining aging, dying and the human experience.
Scherer’s visit was funded by a North Carolina Humanities Council grant through a collaboration of the End of Life Care Coalition of Eastern Carolina, ECU, Pitt County Memorial Hospital, the Greenville Museum of Art and other community agencies.
The new exhibit is presented by ECU’s Honors College, the College of Human Ecology’s Department of Interior Design, the Office of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Education and the Department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies in the Brody School of Medicine. ECU faculty members Dr. Annette Greer and Susan Martin Meggs have coordinated the initiative.
The community quilted panel was made by dozens of volunteers including members of the Greenville Quilters Guild, the B&S Textile Group, the Pitt County Memorial Children’s Hospital staff and nurses, art education students and Gail Ratcliff, who helped assemble the panel, and Sandra Kinsey, who quilted it.
ECU honors students have provided about 40 drawings and photographs and six portfolios. Additional art and poetry will come from medical students’ work showcased in the annual “type.cast” art and literary publication of the Brody School of Medicine.
The exhibit will be on display during the museum’s regular hours 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The 2009 project, “Facing the End of Life through Humanities: Artfully Stitching an Inclusive Community Partnership,” featured two exhibits of Scherer’s fabric and thread art which used multicultural and multigenerational subjects to express the humanity of the dying process. The exhibits were pivotal in encouraging community participants to examine their own cultural understanding of the end of life, Greer said.
Book reviews, critical movie reviews, lectures and workshops led by Scherer were held as part of the project, as well as the creation of an ECU honors course.
The fabric and thread art pieces by students and community members were united into two art representations for the exhibit. The first fabric and thread art representation is titled “HRNS 2216 sec 002 Spring 2009” and is displayed in honor of Dr. Michael Bassman, former director of the Honors Program who supported the course. The second fabric and thread art representation is titled “Community Works” and is displayed in honor and memory of individuals loved in life and death.
The honors course was so successful that it was repeated this spring. Student art from the course examines the concepts of nature, aging, dying and the human experience.
This story appeared originally in the Sept. 24, 2010 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/news/poe/2010/910/September-2010-Archives.cfm.