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Art Department Chair Alexis Joyner in the new Elizabeth City State University art gallery at the K.E. White Center, Wednesday, March 27, 2013.
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Thomas J. Turney/The Daily Advance

Art Department Chair Alexis Joyner in the new Elizabeth City State University art gallery at the K.E. White Center, Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

ECSU debuts new gallery, permanent collection

By Robert Kelly-goss

The Daily Advance

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The visual arts at Elizabeth City State University just received a facelift of sorts. A new gallery has been constructed and opened at the K.E. White Center and it includes a permanent collection of art that has art department chairman Alexis Joyner excited.

“I begged my former professors and guys I went to school with and friends who are artists,” Joyner said of amassing a permanent art collection. “They were very generous and donated a lot of pieces.”

The collection includes pieces form Ghana and Nigeria. Virginia State University professor Leonard Jones and N.C. State professor Charles Joyner shared pieces from their personal collections. Alexis Joyner says they are pieces from the “African Diaspora.”

Artists represented include Nigerian printmaker Bruce Onobrakpeya and Ghanian artist Benjamin Nyako.

The collection would not be possible, however, if it were not for the creation of the new gallery. Joyner says the gallery space in the university’s fine arts building had to be converted to a graphic design computer laboratory and a new gallery space had to be created in its place.

“The chancellor identified a space in the K.E. White Center,” says Joyner. “It’s a real good space. It’s 1,800 sq. ft. It’s pretty well lit. It’s open.”

Joyner said the purpose of the gallery is to function as a lab. It’s a place to teach students about a variety of artistic techniques, including Joyner’s own wood sculpting represented by a mahogany piece from a fairly recent collection created by the artist/professor.

The gallery will also give ECSU art students a place to hang and display work they have created in the classroom. For the opening of the gallery a variety of student artwork has been hanging, however Joyner says that will come down to make way for the annual seniors art show.

The gallery is divided into the student section and the permanent collection. The student collection will rotate periodically.

The gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., by appointment. For more information or to view the gallery, call the art department’s Carolyn Chesson at 335-3347.

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