Sunlight streamed through high windows into the Rao Musunuru, M.D., Art Gallery for the Pasco-Hernando Community College Staff and Faculty Summer Art Show. The walls were lined with photographs, paintings and drawings ranging from Florida wildlife to the abstract.
In the middle of the room, pedestals supported guinea pigs, peace lilies and orchids crocheted by Edith Buffington, an administrative assistant at PHCC. Other works included reverse glass paintings, cross-stitch portraits and sculptures.
The annual exhibit is an opportunity for PHCC faculty and staff to show off their creative talents. Artists were limited to five submissions apiece in any medium.
“We have a lot of talented people here,” said Diana Brinker, the senior office assistant for the art gallery and library. “They don’t just work at PHCC; they have lives outside the school and they’re very creative, and we should give them a chance to showcase in their gallery.”
This is the fourth annual show for PHCC faculty and staff, and Ray Calvert, the director of libraries, has been there since the beginning. He said that every year, the entries get more impressive.
An opening reception was held on May 9 at the Musunuru Gallery, which is in the Alric Pottberg Library at PHCC West Campus, 10230 Ridge Road.
The gallery used to sit empty during summer break, so PHCC employees brainstormed and came up with a different way to fill it, and now every summer, the faculty and staff of all four of PHCC’s campuses have the opportunity to show off their art.
“It’s an opportunity to let staff, not just faculty, but staff, show what they’re able to do,” Calvert said. “We have a lot of talent on campus. It’s a fun opportunity to show off a different aspect of staff. A lot of these folks work in offices all the time and you have no idea that they can do these things.”
Near the entrance to the gallery sits a large painting with shades of glimmering orange, gold and earth tones. The abstract piece is called “The Wall” and was created by Breana Hidalgo, a multimedia instructional specialist.
“It’s a combination of Pink Floyd and my love for ancient Greece and the frescos,” Hidalgo said. “There’s some hope behind it, it is chipping away, but there’s something behind it that’s a little more promising.”
Hidalgo created the piece with paper and a mixture of paper and gesso, normally used as a canvas primer, to make some of the colors and texture. She then went over the piece with oil pastels and colored pencils to fine tune the look.
Paper, texture with gesso and acrylic paint mixed in, went over it with oil pastels to get the different colors. Hidalgo fine-tuned darker areas with colored pencils. The piece took her four hours to complete.
“I’m an impatient artist,” Hidalgo said, laughing. “Once I start a piece, I want to finish it. I hammer away at the piece until it’s done.”
Hidalgo normally uses colored pencils and graphite to do artwork but experimented with paint for this year’s and last year’s show. She hopes to eventually work as an art therapist.
On the far wall, half of the exhibit space is taken up by photographer Barbara Craig, who is an associate professor of nursing at PHCC East Campus in Dade City. She specializes in nature photos, and one of her favorites in the exhibition is a large close-up of a mother woodpecker tending to her baby in a tree.
“I take my camera everywhere I go,” Craig said. “Walking, traveling, any place.” She shoots at parks, ranches and more all along the Suncoast with a Panasonic Lumix and Nikon CoolPix S510.
Several of Craig’s photos were featured in this year’s exhibit, including photos of a snake, an eagle and the river at Lettuce Lake Park. She also has exhibited photos at the Carrollwood Cultural Center and Hunters’ Green Country Club.
“I’m loving it,” Craig said. “I’ve gotten so many compliments on it today.”
Summer exhibit hours at the gallery are from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information about exhibits and viewing times at the art gallery, call (727) 816-3231.
“We are excited for the community to share in the ways faculty and staff get creative in their own time and to experience the result of those artistic moments,” Calvert said. “Summer is a good time to celebrate the creative talent we have in our faculty and staff.”