Skin is on exhibit until Jan. 15 in the Sturm Gallery inside the Elizabeth Sturm Library at Truckee Meadows Community College, 7000 Dandini Blvd. For information, call the Visual Arts office at 673-7291 or visit www.tmcc.edu/artgalleries.
“I was expecting the tattoos,” says Andrea Parks, a business administration student at Truckee Meadows Community College. Some of the moles, scars, stubble, veins were a surprise though. So was the tumor.
Turns out there’s a lot going on with skin. And with Skin, an exhibit of photographs, curated by Parks, submitted via email by students, staff, faculty and alumni of TMCC. The pictures show anonymous hands, palms, nails, feet, arms, abrasions, freckles, stubble and unidentified patches of skin of all colors and textures. Parks made 8-by-11-inch digital prints of each image, 74 so far and counting. (She’ll accept submissions for the duration of the show.) She hung them edge to edge, quilt-style, in the Sturm Gallery, which is a spacious, nicely lit wall in an inconspicuous study nook in the Elizabeth Sturm Library. To find it, enter the library and turn left after the drinking fountain.
Any member of the TMCC community can participate, Parks explains.
“Just shoot a picture with a cell phone,” she says. “Teachers have been energetic about participating.” Some art instructors worked with their students, encouraging them to submit images. Art-major status is not required for inclusion, however.
“She got nursing and dental hygiene departments involved,” says Candace Nicol, art instructor and Interim Gallery Curator at the college.
“It went a little deeper than what I had envisioned,” Nicol says, noting that the photos collectively show a surprisingly intimate representation of the community’s identity.
Nicol conceived the Skin exhibit, which she initially intended to be a visual survey of the campus community’s diversity. She also intended it as part of an effort to build bridges between art students, the campus community, and the entire region’s community. Since taking over the gallery-head position in summer 2011, she’s overseen, for example, an exhibit of photographic prints by adults with severe cognitive disabilities who are involved with the non-profit group Trinity Services.
As part of her community involvement plan, Nicol has put a couple art exhibits on TMCC’s 2013 schedule that sound like they’ll appeal to a wide slice of Reno culture-makers and image consumers: Art of Cars and Burning Man Culture. She plans to have student involved in the organizational processes for both.
She believes her efforts to be inclusive are working.
“I kind of stirred things up a little,” she says. “Our attendance is up at receptions.”
Her next goal: “I”m trying to figure out ways for galleries to have students more involved.” In addition to the TMCC Main Gallery, the college’s several hallway galleries offer plenty of opportunities.
“I already know how to curate,” Nicol says. “I wanted to hand over a learning experience.” So she invited Parks to receive and organize the email submissions for this show and take care of the administrative duties. The cheerfully professional Parks is employed in the campus art department office and helped with last spring’s Reno Open Studios, so she struck Nicol as a perfect candidate.
Another action Nicol hopes to take is to get Skin, a symbol of inclusion itself, on permanent display on campus.
“We have tons of wall space on campus,” she says. She sees that space as a one more opportunity for community.
If you’re a TMCC student, staff or faculty member, or alumnus, it’s not too late to join the community effort by sending in some skin. Email photos to email@example.com.