The work of East Georgia State College “Group 7A” art students will be featured at The Kalmanson Gallery of Emanuel Arts Council with an opening reception on Thursday, May 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibition is called “Meridional Passions: An Exhibition of Southern Interests.” Featured will be students Maddux Bedgood, Odalyz Canseco-Sanchez, Dormeshia Elam, C.J. Gresham, Jadah Harrison, Amanda Lee, and Viri Mejia. Refreshments will be provided by the Boys of Service organization of Swainsboro. The event is free and open to the public.
“Group 7A came together and decided to create art based on the subjects that highlight and haunt our dreams,” said Lee. “Each of us has put in a lot of hard work in representing our individual styles and who we are as artists. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone for what we have accomplished.”
“As I’ve sat here creating art around other artists not only have I come to appreciate our different styles, but also the similarities that have tied us indefinitely to our southern landscape,” said Bedgood. “This exhibition works as an opportunity to express how this passing time has molded all of us into better people.“
“I use art as a means to express my emotions,” said Harrison. “In this exhibition, I explore my southern roots through drawings of memories.”
EGSC professor of art Desmal Purcell said the students came together after meeting in art/studio courses at EGSC as a means of pursuing off-campus exhibitions and collaborating as an artist group. “Group 7A has put together an engaging exhibition that explores southern identity through a wide range of lenses,” said Purcell. “Through symbols of southern culture to urban legends and myths tied to the South this show covers an eclectic arrangement of subjects. The exhibition will make for a memorable experience for the viewer.”
A graduate of David Emanuel Academy, Bedgood is currently enrolled at EGSC as an art major. “Ever since I was a child, art has played a big role in my life,” he said. “With this as my first gallery showing, I hope to gain needed experience and have a successful transition to Savannah College Art and Design.”
Canseco-Sanchez is a graduate of Jefferson County High School and is working towards her Associate’s degree in General Studies at EGSC. “I would like to acquire a degree in interior design,” she said. “I feel it’s an ideal fit for me and will challenge my creativity.”
Elam is a graduate of Lincoln County High School. She is an art major at EGSC and will finish up at Georgia Southern University. “I am blessed I made something out of coming here to EGSC,” she said about her artwork. “It’s a nice environment being in the classroom, having positive people, and a great teacher.”
Gresham is a graduate of Johnson County High School. He has been drawing since he was a child. “I was one of those kids who got written up constantly for drawing on my classwork,” he said. “Nothing really held my attention quite like art but I have found throughout my life the illustrating my thoughts and emotions has been much more productive than just simply expressing them. Creation is my motivation.”
Harrison is a graduate of Swainsboro High School. “I’ve been creating art for ten years and I enjoy everything about it,” she said. “Ever since I became an art student at EGSC, I’ve gained the comfort to work with many mediums along with fellow classmates to become an artist. Mr. Purcell has played a huge part in moving me forward to becoming better. I’m very pleased with what I’ve achieved so far and the opportunities I never knew I would get without motivation.”
Lee is a graduate of Johnson County High School and Georgia Southern University where she received a bachelor of arts in public health. “While I loved the major I was in, it was not the career I wanted,” she said. “After being out of school for two years, I decided to go back in hopes of gaining more knowledge. Art, and anything that involves creativity, has been a passion of mine as far back as I can remember. Professor Purcell and my peers have been a wonderful asset to my life and art career. I would never have gained the confidence and motivation that has risen in me without them.”
Mejia is a graduate of Johnson County High School. “My personal form of artwork is photography,” she said. “I have captured memories for family members, at “quinceañera” and weddings. Capturing these memories is what I personally find enjoyable. Since attending EGSC I have found other ways of expressing myself through other forms of art.”
The exhibition will be on display at Emanuel Arts Council from May 11 through June 24. The Kalmanson Gallery is open from Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and also by appointment, at 109 North Green Street, Swainsboro. Like and follow the EAC on Facebook and Instagram for updates, or call 478-237-2592 for more information. You can also find Group 7A on Instagram at @Group.Seven.A.