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Art show unites two different worlds


BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 13, 2012 – Engineering and science aren’t often associated with art, but an art show at Virginia Tech seeks to challenge that. The Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics has partnered with the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention to host the Norris Hall Art Show.

The art show runs through Sept. 24, 2012. It is free and open to the public 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Art by engineering science and mechanics faculty and staff is featured.

“I just enjoy the act of creation and discovery, whether it is art or science,” said Jake Socha, a professor in engineering science and mechanics and one of the artists featured. “One of the things that is critically important in science is communication.  If you understand something or discover something new, it's meaningless if you can't explain it to someone else.  Oftentimes art is the best way to do it – images, drawings, and videos can oftentimes convey concepts far more effectively than words alone.”

“It’s important because we can show that we are able to look through different lenses and see different perspectives,” said Anne-Marie Bracken, the office manager for the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics who organized the event.

The first art show took place in Norris Hall in 2008 as a celebration of the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics’ 100th anniversary. The collaboration between the department and the center started when the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention moved into Norris Hall in 2009, two years after it was formed following the shootings of April 16, 2007. Amy Splitt, office manager at the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, said that the staffs in the department and the center share an enjoyment of art, so the collaboration was a natural choice.

In the past, the shows have featured the art of students, faculty members, and Blacksburg artists. Various types of art – including photography, sculpture, watercolor, and mixed media – have been featured. Other shows have also had themes, such as research-inspired art in the winter of 2011. However, this year’s show has no theme. Bracken said that she hopes that will leave it open for the artists to express themselves in any way they choose.

Bracken has been an artist for many years, and she says she enjoys getting other people excited about art. “Once you do art, you look at the world in a different way,” she said.

Written by Allison Hedrick of Chatham, Va., a senior communication major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.