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Away from the office and classroom, employees go creative

By Ellen Rossetti, News Promotions

By day, they’re construction managers, academic advisors, professors, IT managers, administrative assistants and librarians. But in their spare time faculty and staff members are artists. This week, their creative talents will be on display in the On My Own Time exhibition.

Meredith Buie, administrative coordinator, UNT on the Square and Institute for the Advancement of the ArtsA free opening reception will be at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 10. The exhibition will feature 58 artworks from 34 employees through Aug. 14 at UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St. on Denton’s historic courthouse square.

“On My Own Time allows Denton and the UNT community to recognize the individualism and creativity of our employees,” said Meredith Buie, left, coordinator of the exhibition and administrative coordinator for the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts and UNT on the Square.

“I think it’s incredibly inspiring to see creative work produced by people who work so hard at their regular jobs and still have time and discipline to produce something so great and personal," she said. "It’s not only beneficial to the viewers, but I think it’s important for the artists to have the chance to show off their talents and be proud of their personal accomplishments.”

On My Own Time is an annual art exhibition featuring artwork created outside of working hours by people working for companies and non-profit and governmental agencies throughout North Texas.

Winners in each of 11 categories such as painting, black and white photography and sculpture will be selected by regional arts experts. In addition, the jurors select a Best of Show winner, and employees are asked to vote for a “People’s Choice” winner.

Works that have been awarded a First Prize and Best of Show award in each category are selected to move on to the regional exhibit, in which the best artworks from all of the companies involved are exhibited together at NorthPark Center in September.

Lisa Vining, a part-time creative writing assistant who coordinates the Visiting Writers Series and the UNT Rilke Prize in the Department of English, has submitted a papier-mâché sculpture of a Day of the Dead skeleton for the exhibition. She’s exhibited her artwork elsewhere, but this will be her first item in a UNT venue.

“I love the idea of connecting to the community through UNT but as part of the community as well,” she said. “Entering into this exhibition, there will be people I will meet and I’ll make new connections, and I thought it was a great opportunity.” 

Circles 3, painting by John Flippin, for On My Own Time ExhibitJohn Flippin works as a construction manager for the university but took art classes while earning a bachelor’s degree in education here.

“I painted until the 1980s and then stopped for almost 20 years. I referred to myself after 19 years of not painting as an artist, and I realized that was erroneous. So I’ve been doing one or two pieces a year since about 2004 or so,” said Flippin, whose work also is on display at Soho Salon in Denton.

In the UNT exhibition, Flippin will exhibit a surreal painting of circles – part of a series. Right, Flippin's Circles 3.

“Showing it is a part of expressing the fact that you are proud of what you have done,” he said.

UNT on the Square gallery hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

On My Own Time, now in its 20th year, is a program of the Business Council for the Arts. With support from Vice President for Administration and Finance, Andrew Harris, participation is being coordinated by a Steering Committee including Charles Andrews, Rachel Grimes, Dilana King, and Hillary Talatzko from the Staff Council, Meredith Buie and Herbert Holl at UNT on the Square, and Robert Milnes, dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design and chair of the UNT Art in Public Places Program.

Posted on: Tue 07 August 2012

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