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Keuka College News

Beyond 9 – 5

Carol Sackett and two of her paintings, "Still Waters," left and "Sunrise," right.

By day, Penn Yan resident Carol Sackett manages the circulation desk at Lightner Library, a post she has held for 32 years. But through March 7, visitors to Keuka College can glimpse a different side of her, as seen in three oil paintings gracing the walls of Lightner Gallery.

Sackett’s paintings are on display alongside numerous other works from members of Keuka’s faculty and staff, whose job titles may not necessarily disclose the individuals as creative “artists-in-residence.”

Beyond 9 to 5: The Hidden Talents of Keuka’s Faculty and Staff runs through March 7 in Lightner Gallery,located in Lightner Library. It features  a range of artistic mediums, including painting, photography, ceramics, glass work, digital art, and film.  More than 20 faculty and staff members submitted work for the show, including President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera.

During a special artists’ reception – open to the public – Thursday, Feb. 21 from 4:30 – 6 p.m., the exhibit will also feature select culinary art from four members of the faculty and staff. The exhibit remains open daily during library hours, available online at:

Hand-painted glass by Doreen Hovey

“Oh, mine [my talents] are very hidden, I tell you,” Sackett said with a laugh, describing the full year of painting lessons she received as a gift from her husband about 10 years ago.  Inspired by a teacher who excelled at creating crisp, clear images on the canvas, Sackett said she “fell in love” with oil painting, and is particularly proud of the work she called “Still Waters,” which features a boat on the shore.

“It looks almost like a photograph to me, not a panting,” Sackett said. “I don’t know what the technique is called, but I like that and I take a lot of pride in that. [Painting] is a work of joy for me and something I plan to attack again with vigor when I finally find time to slow down.”

Photo by Vickie Tobias

Among other works, visitors will see an image of a vibrant red maple leaf, the only spot of color in what appears to be a black-and-white photo of other leaves. It’s not black-and-white, but the other leaves were so muddy when Vickie Tobias took the photo that it just looks that way, said the Bath resident who works as a database administrator in Keuka’s Information Technology Services department. Indeed, her image won “Best in Show” in the 2011 Steuben County Fair, where she has been winning ribbons for her photography since 2007.

While there are plenty of traditional arts – painting and photography – featured, several non-traditional works in the exhibit warrant closer inspection too, said Phelps resident Brett Williams, digital media specialist for the College.

“There were some works I wasn’t expecting,” Williams said, citing metallic elements from the periodic table refashioned into scientific word designs by Dr. Andy Robak, associate professor of chemistry, and polished rocks known as “thundereggs” from Dr. Mike McKenzie, professor of religion and philosophy.

Art creation made of molten zinc (Dr. Andy Robak)

“There’s an element of interactivity where you can physically touch it, and I’m somebody who appreciates that. You’ve got to just see it all,” said Williams, who co-directed a 2011 documentary featured in the exhibit. The film, Nickel City Smiler, centers on Smiler Greeley, a Karen refugee from Burma, and his family, who relocated to inner-city Buffalo. Three of Williams’ images from the film are on display along with QR codes that mobile devices can scan to take them to the documentary website.

According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art and curator for the show, the most inspiring aspect has been bringing together those who work in different buildings on campus and providing an opportunity to get to know one another better.

Chevy DeVaney with her stained glass work.

The exhibit underscores that “we’re all very ambitious people,” Newcomb said, praising both the quality and quantity of works on display. “Besides just our 9-5 attendance –teaching or working in an office – there’s other hidden talents that these faculty and staff have. To see others doing and creating these [works] excites me that there could be future collaborations and connections across the campus and the community.”

Featured staff or faculty artists include:

Melissa Newcomb of Penn Yan, assistant professor of art
Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, Keuka Park, president and professor
 Carol Sackett of Penn Yan, library circulation supervisor
 Doreen Hovey of Geneva, painting on glass, executive assistant to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs
Dr. Jennie Joiner of Penn Yan, assistant professor of English
Vickie Tobias of Bath, ITS database administrator
Dr. William Brown of Penn Yan, assistant professor of environmental science and biology
Rachel E. Dewey of Canandaigua, communications specialist
Dr.  Yang Zhao of Penn Yan, assistant professor of management
Dr. Gary Smith of Penn Yan, Vice-President of Enrollment Management, Marketing and International Relations
Allison Schultz of Rochester, assistant professor of occupational therapy
Abigail Simmons of Geneva, photography on wood, DRIVE specialist
Jim Hilker of Ithaca, , director of educational technology
Dr. Alice Harnischfeger, of Penn Yan, assistant professor of education
Bonna McMahon of Penn Yan, assistant office manager, Student Affairs 


Hand made glass and bronze by Julia Bies of Irondequoit

Glass or Ceramics:
Chevanne DeVaney of Geneva, stained glass, director of multicultural affairs
Dr.  Catherine Abbott of Branchport, ceramics, professor of mathematics
Julia Bies of Irondequoit, glass, registrar

Polished "thundereggs," (Dr. Mike McKenzie)

 John Locke of Penn Yan, digital design, director of instructional design and multi-disciplinary studies,
Brett Williams of Phelps, film, digital media specialist
Dr. Michael McKenzie of Penn Yan, polished thundereggs, associate professor of  philosophy and religion
Dr. Andy Robak of Penn Yan, metals, assistant professor of chemistry
Justin Krog of Keuka Park, digital design, watercolor, ITS developer
Culinary Arts (Feb. 21 only):

Tamara Ingram of Penn Yan, ESL academic skills director, Center for Global Education
Dr. Anita Chirco of Watkins Glen, professor of communication
Dr. Denise Love of Keuka Park, assistant professor of education
Justin Krog, ITS developer


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