|Art Students and Faculty Benefit From Classroom Visitor
Lebanon Valley College boasts a reputable Art & Art History Department filled with talented students and faculty alike. One such student is junior Lauren Brumbach, who recently had the opportunity to work with visiting Woodrow Wilson Fellow Robert Shetterly.
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Shetterly is a well-known artist who paints in order to reveal the truth. He is known for his portrait series, “Americans Who Tell the Truth,” a series of paintings that help people understand America’s history. Michael Pittari, chair of art & art history and associate professor of art, invited Shetterly to a Water-Media Painting course to present and work with students as part of his visit through the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship program.
Before going into the class, Brumbach could see similarities between Shetterly’s art style and her own.
“Our styles are very similar and have been even before I viewed his art. Although they are similar, I loved how he incorporated words in his realism style art. I’ve become more delicate in choosing words to put in my paintings. As well I put forth more effort into whom I choose to paint, and the story or message I want to portray in my painting.”
Shetterly says that when he teaches students, he tries to deliver a message. He encouraged the LVC students "to use the individuals featured in his portraits as role models for confronting the critical issues of social, economic and environmental justice impacting their own lives. Democracy in this country often depends less on its institutions than on its courageous citizens to demand what's just."
Pittari said he benefited pedagogically from Shetterly’s visit. “Having Shetterly come in to teach for a day was a great decision. The portraiture assignment was given was a direct result of Shetterly’s ‘Americans Who Tell the Whole Truth’ project. The assignment was a success with the students and I will probably incorporate the assignment into future courses because of how well it worked.”
After taking the Water-Media Painting class, Brumbach’s art continued to grow. Her portrait of Maya Angelou is on display in Lynch Memorial Hall, and her portrait of late Lebanon Valley College student Nick Pantalone was used at a campus memorial service. Pantalone lost his battle with cancer in March 2013.
“It was an honor having my painting of Nick used for his memorial service,” Brumbach said. “It’s like having a little piece of him and me there; and the significance of the painting is indescribable. Nick was a man who touched a lot of people’s hearts and I feel very honored and humbled that I got to paint him before his passing. He was an amazing person.”
Like many students, Brumbach has big dreams for her future.
“I adamantly want to work for Disney Animation’s Pixar. I feel I have been in a realistic style art pattern for a while now and I want to break that by drawing more creatively. My main goal is to be a character developer for Pixar,” she said.
“Lebanon Valley College’s art department is helping me achieve my goal by instilling more confidence within myself. The art department has helped me grow, to think and look at things more creatively, as well as helped me to understand my abilities. The art staff here overall is helpful. They are big in promoting LVC art and making opportunities for students and the department to gain recognition. The department builds stronger confidence in its students and helps to spread awareness to the campus and to Annville,” Brumbach said.
For the new students that are coming to Lebanon Valley College as art majors, Brumbach has some advice:
“Take all the art classes that you can. Try to take a little bit of everything so that you can have a balanced art style; and make sure to allow yourself plenty of time to work on your art. Speaking from experience, once you start, you don’t want to stop.”