Exhibit features work of ECU art professors over 110 years

Published: Jun. 7, 2018 at 9:11 AM EDT
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Christine Elmore of Greenville admires a pencil drawing on display in ECU's Gray Gallery. She's looking at herself as a young mother, when her now adult daughter was just a few months old. It was drawn by her late husband, Ray Elmore, and is now on display as part of the exhibit titled "110 years of Excellence: In Memoriam." This unique exhibit features art work from professors at the ECU School of Art and Design who have passed away, all the way back to the first teacher, Kate Lewis. Her career teaching art to aspiring teachers at ECU started in 1909. It's believed she created the first logo for what was then East Carolina Teachers College.

The exhibit includes the work of more than two dozen art professors at ECU along with former Chancellor Leo Jenkins. Francis Speight, who was the university's first artist-in-residence and hails from Bertie County, also has works on display. Speight's work has been featured at the North Carolina Museum of Art and other national exhibitions. "He's very heavily collected right now," said Kate Bukoski, the ECU School of Art and Design Director.

The exhibit tells the story of ECU's art program and how it has grown. "As the program evolved and became a department and then a school, the programs began expanding. So we added sculpture, then ceramic, traditional, industrial design, print making, textiles," Bukoski says. "You'll see all of that history represented here in the exhibition."

The broad scope and beauty of the work aims to inspire and inform visitors about more than just the ECU School of Art and Design's history, but also its value.

"I know it's not because it brings in a lot of money, because the football team does that," Elmore says. "I think that it makes a well-rounded university."

The exhibit will be on display through June 29 in the Jenkins Fine Arts Building at ECU. It's free and open to the public.