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"Small Works" Celebrates Color, Collaboration and Creativity

Monday, September 27, 2021

Without a doubt, the start of COVID-19 in March 2020 was a strange and stressful time. As schools closed and stay-at-home orders took effect, three students from St. Louis Community College at Wildwood turned their attention to their art.

Student ArtistsIn the months that followed, Jo Jasper Dean, Vicky Hefty and Leslie Randle spent hours painting in their home studios. Although they kept in touch with each other and their art professor by participating in their virtual class, it was difficult to feel the same level of connectedness as before. Despite the challenges, the students strived to make the best of their circumstances.

For Hefty, the extra time at home prompted her to explore new painting techniques and mediums.

“While I’ve always felt more comfortable with oil paints, I decided to give acrylics a try,” Hefty said. “I ordered some new supplies and became a serious student. I began absorbing as much knowledge as I could by watching artists work with acrylics in videos online. From this, I was able to stay busy, manage my stress and grow as an artist.”

When things began to open up, Hefty invited her friends to her home studio for a painting workshop. In addition to reconnecting with one another, the three began collaborating on some new art pieces.

“It was wonderful for us to come together in-person and paint,” Dean said. “The experience was something we had all been missing, and it felt great for us to work alongside one another in a studio.”

Small WorksFast-forward to now, the trio recently installed their artwork in a gallery at Walnut Grill in Ellisville. Titled “Small Works: In the Moment,” the exhibit features a compilation of mixed media artworks on paper.

The idea for the exhibit stemmed from their experiences as artists and friends -- a foundation they established from having spent years working alongside one another as students in Mark Weber’s advanced painting class.

Although the workshop wasn’t meant to be more than a fun day spent together painting, it ended up being so much more.

“We were each really pleased with the works we produced that day that we decided they needed to be shared,” Randle said. “So, we got together again to plan the exhibit as part of STLCC-Wildwood’s Fine Arts Club Gallery Program.”

According to Hefty, who serves as the gallery coordinator for this program, the pieces in this exhibit represent three things.

“'Small Works: In the Moment' is truly a celebration of color, creativity and collaboration,” Hefty said. “We are proud of the pieces we created for our exhibit at Walnut Grill, and we look forward to hanging new and different works in our other gallery spaces around West St. Louis County.”

For more information about the artists, or to purchase any works of art listed for sale in the exhibit, please contact Mark Weber, MFA, at mweber@stlcc.edu.


Pictured above from left to right: Vicky Hefty, Jo Jasper Dean and Leslie Randle

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