‘Memory Garden’ exhibit at Cecil College explores childhood memories

Published on June 1, 2023

Memory Garden

NORTH EAST, Md. – Jessica Cooke discovered a passion when she first placed her hands in wet clay in the ceramic studio at Cecil College’s Elkton Station. The feel of the raw materials squeezing between her fingers, followed by the provocation of being able to form her thoughts and imagination into a three-dimensional object, is inspirational.

“Painting has been a passion my whole life. But if I hadn’t decided to attend Cecil College, I would never have discovered my love for working with clay and the empowerment it instills,” said Cooke, a 2018 North East High School graduate. “I now know the direction I wish for my life.”

The culmination of these two passions are currently on display this summer in the Milburn Stone Gallery on the North East Campus of Cecil College. Cooke’s exhibition, Memory Garden, uses sentimentality as a love letter for old childhood memories and to seek closure from inevitable realities. Cooke explores nostalgia, grief, forgiveness, and layered identity through detailed paintings and playful ceramics.

The Memory Garden exhibition is just one stepping-stone in her path in life as she builds her portfolio in the art world. Having earned an Associate of Fine Arts degree from Cecil College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Salisbury University, Cooke plans to continue her education and earn an MFA degree from the University of Delaware. Her current work is a portion of the portfolio she will present for admission to the program.

This Memory Garden exhibit will run from May 19 through August 25, with a reception scheduled for Friday, June 9, from 6 – 8 p.m. in the lobby of the Milburn Stone Theatre. The Milburn Stone Gallery is open for visitors Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday, Noon to 4 p.m.; and three hours before Milburn Stone Theatre showtimes.