Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of profiles of 2016 Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon later this month.
Junior Kaitlyn Talbot has worked in Lightner Library for three years. In that time, Library Circulation Supervisor Carol Sackett said she has become a valuable part of the library’s workforce.
Part of Talbot’s responsibilities include training new student workers, which Sackett says assists her greatly at the beginning of each academic year.
“She helps ease the transition from year to year with new workers, and has been an inspiration for them,” said Sackett, who nominated Talbot for the award.
Sackett adds that Talbot’s contributions go further than simply training new students in their duties as a library student employee.
“Katie demonstrates a true gesture of friendship and assistance, which helps new students adapt to college life,” said Sackett. “She demands high standards and professionalism from herself and imparts that to others. Her commitment to Keuka College puts demands on her rigorous schedule, which she manages well. Katie puts a lot of pressure on herself to excel in both her studies and her work, and she manages her rigorous schedule well.”
In turn, Sackett adds, Talbot expects her trainees to follow in her footsteps.
“We have a responsibility to provide coverage during evening hours and weekends, which is a necessity seven days a week when classes are in session. Katie’s constant willingness to fill in for others in emergencies is much appreciated,” said Sackett.
In addition to her role helping Sackett train new students, Talbot—and all workers—are expected to learn the Library of Congress system and be competent when assisting other patrons. They must understand how to shelve materials, check materials in and out using the library’s computer system, and shelf read to make sure materials are shelved correctly.
“Katie has mastered all of the library techniques necessary to competently run the circulation desk,” said Sackett. “She is cheerful, prompt, professional, and enjoys working with the public.”
Sackett adds Talbot learned her job easily and enjoys working in the library as part of the group.
“She is a natural leader in the library, as well as when working with others,” said Sackett. “Her competence, patience, and motivation all come into play. Her leadership skills, library knowledge, and commitment to all that she does is refreshing. She is always willing to give of her time and talents to help us, has shown excellent judgment, and is a valued student employee. She is truly a special student worthy of recognition.”
Years ago, anyone wishing to enjoy the patterned art of a tin ceiling —popular in Victorian architecture—would suffer a crink in the neck as they looked up. But thanks to Nancy Fobert, tin ceiling remnants reclaimed and enhanced with color glazing live anew as contemporary wall art – no neck strain necessary.
Members of the College community and the public are invited to an artists’ reception featuring the glazed antique tin art tiles of Fobert Designs from 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 at Lightner Gallery in Lightner Library at Keuka College. Light refreshments and music will accompany the event and Fobert hopes guests will enjoy learning the stories and provenance, or origin, behind each unique piece.
A self-taught artist who has made her living by showcasing her unique creations at juried art festivals for the past seven years, Fobert and her husband, Gary, seek out antique tin ceilings across the country. They have now uncovered original tin ceilings or remnants of ceilings in 50 cities across 12 states, including the Brother’s Lounge jazz club in Cleveland where BB King and other greats played, Willard State Psychiatric Hospital near Ovid, N.Y., an old saloon in Florida, and a silent movie theater in Wausau, Wis.
When found, Gary Fobert will remove the original tin and transport it back to their home outside Watkins Glen, where he’ll clean off 100 years or more of grime. Depending on its appearance then, “that tells me if I’ll want to add color to the glaze or not,” Nancy Fobert said. While she prefers to keep specifics of her multi-layer process a trade secret, Nancy said she uses a combination of acrylics and signature glazes to enhance the beauty of the original tin patterns. Rather than use a traditional kiln, the couple lays pieces out under the sun to set the glaze.
Typically, the tin comes from commercial or public properties, but sometimes from private homes, such as one family’s aged cabin in the Adirondacks. Most tin ceilings originated in the late 1800s when ornate plaster engravings adorning ceilings across Europe were desired for American architecture. However, America lacked the trained artisans of Europe, and tin ceilings—painted white—were an economic alternative to European plaster, particularly with the boon in steel and metals during the industrial revolution. Eventually, manufacturers began rolling tin out in sheets, impressing ornate patterns into the metal; squares of engraved tin were fitted together in a fashion similar to contemporary drop ceilings. Tin ceilings were popular through the 1930s.
“They have their own story to tell as far as the history of where each piece comes from,” Nancy Fobert said, adding that the provenance of each tin is documented on the back of her finished “tiles.”
Admitting her craft is “definitely not traditional art,” Nancy Fobert says some of the pieces will be further enhanced with mirrors her husband embeds in cut tin, or wooden frames made by her 75-year-old father, an antiques dealer. In several pieces, small holes or physical elements resembling the keyhole of a door can be found, as she likes to say “I unlocked the beauty of the tin.”
“We felt like the world was missing out on this as an art material and that inspired us to save as much as possible by doing this. I love that we’re preserving part of history,” she says. While her fine art designs can complement many different styles of homes, she adds, “we don’t want to lose the character and integrity of the tin itself. We want you to feel that yes, you are looking at a piece of history, but now it’s made contemporary and cool.”
The Fobert Designs exhibit continues through Oct. 24 at Lightner Gallery and will include the College’s second annual Green & Gold Celebration Weekend. Plans are also in the works for Fobert to speak to art and design students on entering juried art shows.
According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art, her students can benefit from the opportunity to connect with a professional artist making a living in the field of high-end art. “A lot of students will look for ways to survive on their own as artists and Nancy’s a great example of how it can be done,” Newcomb says.
Mysteries, cookbooks, poetry, biographies, music, and more will be offered at Keuka College’s Lightner Library annual book sale Friday, Sept. 18-Sunday, Sept. 20.
This year’s book sale runs from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; and from noon-6 p.m. Sunday in Lightner Library. Paperbacks will be priced at 75 cents (children’s paperbacks, 25 cents), with hardbacks selling for $1.25. Shoppers will also be able to purchase videos, audiotapes, and records for $1.
Proceeds from the book sale, sponsored by the Friends of Lightner Library, will benefit the library’s collections and services.
Donations for Lightner Library’s book sale may be made through Friday, Sept. 11 at Five Star Bank, Lyons National Bank, and Community Bank branches in Penn Yan; as well as the Keuka Park Post Office.
Junior Courtney Nojeim serves as a student worker at the circulation desk in the Lightner Library. And every day when she comes to work, Nojeim knows she can count on Carol Sackett, library circulation supervisor.
“Not only is Carol a fabulous supervisor in the library, but she is someone that we can all rely on if we need someone to talk to,” said Nojeim. “She is always smiling and welcoming when we arrive at work. She has such a positive attitude at work, that I never know if she is having a bad day.”
While Nojeim has worked at the circulation desk for two years, she finds comfort in knowing Sackett “is always there to assist me when I am confused about any kind of process at the circulation desk,” said Nojeim. “I know that if I have any kind of problem, I can count on her to be right on top of it and try her best to help me solve it. Carol is always willing to train and retrain us when we are in need of learning new processes or programs on the computer.”
One of those new processes was transitioning from a paper-based timesheet to a web-based system. The student employees in the library were among those to first test out the system, and Nojeim said Sackett worked “extremely hard to keep up with the transition from the paper timesheets.”
Nojeim said that because of Sackett, “the library feel like a second home for me because she is so kind and friendly. When I had my first interview with Carol, I knew that I was going to succeed having her as my supervisor.”
Adds Nojeim: “I can’t express how willing Sackett is to help us when we are in need of her assistance. Carol has an encouraging outlook on life and her job. She does everything that she can to make it easier for the students working in the library.”
The annual spring Student Art Show at Keuka College returns next week to the Lightner Gallery and the variety and depth of creativity and expression in the pieces installed has Assistant Professor of Art Melissa Newcomb excited to share them with the public.
“I can’t wait for the students to show off what they’ve been working on in Allen Hall,” she said, referring to the campus building housing the art program classrooms and studios. “There is some really powerful work. Every year, these students are raising the bar in the quality of work they create, and it’s incredible to see what is happening in classes now that we have 20 students enrolled in the Art & Design major.”
The exhibit features students showcasing a variety of photography, illustrations, mixed media, ceramics, sculpture, drawing and design created in this year’s art classes and will run from March 9 through April 12 with an artists’ reception to be held 4:30 – 6 p.m. Thursday, March 12. Light refreshments will be served and guests will be able to browse the walls and pedestals of the Lightner Gallery in Lightner Library to hearts’ content.
If Prof. Newcomb is thrilled with the students’ work, the pride and enthusiasm from the students involved is even more palpable.
“The student show is an incredible way for students to show off their creativity, hard work, and talent, and I am always amazed when I see the artwork,” said Bridgette Fletcher ’15, who is exhibiting three portraits from her 11-part “Reflection” series, and an abstract image. Her inspiration for the series stemmed from recent campaigns about women’s perceptions of beauty and how they interpret what they see reflected in the mirror.
“I was incredibly proud of how the portraits turned out and I am honored to have them displayed in the student show,” Bridgette added.
In a different twist on reflections, one assignment in the digital photography course required students to take a self-portrait, but portray themselves in a different way than others usually see them. Art & Design major Kayla Medina ’17 took that opportunity to show sides of herself others don’t usually see.
“I decided to show my artistic and serious side, because many people know me as funny, goofy, laid back, and always smiling,” Kayla said.
Bringing others closer to the artists through their work is something that excites Lauren Esposito ’15, who is exhibiting photographs taken during the fall digital photography course.
“Creating art is such an incredible and intimate process; it allows for the individual to relax, express, create, and reflect,” said Lauren. “It’s even more incredible to see the work from others. We have so many talented students here at Keuka College and without the variety of art courses, most of that talent would be unknown.”
That principle is even more poignant for Lauren, who said art courses have introduced her to new people who have become some of her closest friends. As a senior, most of her academic hours are spent with the same few students pursuing the same degree (organizational communication), but art courses add a new dynamic, she said.
“I’ve also learned to communicate in an entirely new way through the variety of pieces I created in Foundations of Art and Design to Graphic Design to Digital Photography- which was my favorite art course,” Lauren said. Reigniting her passion for images even pushed her to conduct a photography Field Period™, she said, adding that it was the favorite of the four she has completed as a senior.
Other works from other courses, including ceramics (taught by Faith Benedict, adjunct professor of art), sculpture (taught by Sam Castner), graphic design, mixed media and drawing and painting will highlight the depths of creativity and artistic expression coming to the forefront around campus. According to Marina Kilpatrick ’16, having Prof. Newcomb select one of your pieces for the student show is always a great feeling, as is the energy generated when students, professors and other guests come together at the artists’ reception.
The show itself provides “a fantastic opportunity for art majors and minors to get to see their work displayed because it gives them that confident boost that many may need. I know that’s what it did for me,” Kayla added. “Ms. Newcomb has put a LOT of work into this show, and I know the show will be a hit. I’m so excited to see everyone’s work up and on display.”