MST Gallery hosts 2023 Alumni Spotlight Exhibition

Published on September 29, 2023

Pottery created by Cecil College Alumni.

NORTH EAST, MD.: With the feel of fall in the air, Cecil College highlights the skillful artwork of three Art and Design alums in the 2023 Alumni Spotlight Exhibition hosted in the Milburn Stone Gallery. Featured artists are Jessi Cooke, Callie Dowe, and Sam Braun.

This exhibition will be on display through January 26, and the public will be able to meet the artists during a reception on Friday, Oct. 20, from 6 – 8 p.m. in the lobby of the Milburn Stone Theatre. This show explores the combination of paint and clay as they combine to create a visual experience of texture, color, and imagination.

Jessica Cooke discovered her 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 was displayed this summer in her first-ever public exhibition, Memory Garden. In her work, she 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. Cooke earned an Associate of Fine Arts degree from Cecil College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Salisbury University.

Samantha Braun was born in Rising Sun, Maryland, and was introduced to ceramics in high school. Braun graduated from Cecil College with an Associate of Fine Arts and from Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Drawing inspiration from the human form and nature, Braun incorporates motifs, textures, and reflections of colors into her figures, creating individualized, functional, and interactive wheel-thrown works of art.

Callie Dowe is a Maryland ceramicist focusing on the aesthetics and comfort of ceramic forms. Experienced in functional and sculptural ceramics, Dowe primarily works with colored clay bodies, adorning them with texture through carving and slip decoration.

Her work ranges from functional cups and bowls to intricately decorated figurative sculptures. Surfaces include slip and glaze decoration and natural variations in color from atmospheric firings and the clay bodies she explores. Callie studied ceramics at Cecil College and is currently the Ceramics Studio Assistant, where she maintains the College’s ceramics studio while helping students, faculty, and staff.

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.

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