BY GIOVANNA ROMAZINI
Assistant News Editor
County College of Morris fine arts students are exhibiting their artwork at the Art Upstairs Gallery at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. The exhibition is open through April 15 at 100 South St.
Charles Miller, program consultant for the Art Upstairs Gallery at MPAC approached County College of Morris student Mike Dziomba, which caused this opportunity to emerge.
“I’m president of the art association MSHAC, [Millburn Short Hills Art Center] which Miller is also a member,” Dziomba said. “He called me a couple months ago saying that there was an opening at the gallery, and suggested that students display their work there.”
Eager with the idea, Dziomba contacted Assistant Professor Todd Doney of the department of visual arts at CCM.
“I was just in the ‘middle’ of it,” Dziomba said. “My job was to put Doney in contact with Miller. They worked out the details and now there is a beautiful show at MPAC.”
Dziomba is a self-taught artist who has been in the industry for years and has displayed his work throughout the state. However, he does not have any of his art displayed at MPAC.
“I felt that this was a moment to let the students new in the area ‘do their thing’ and experience the field,” Dziomba said.
He attends workshops and classes at CCM to fine tune his skills, stating that he could always get better.
Dziomba encourages art students at CCM to join his association MSHAC. The association offers opportunities for growth in the arts and development of local talent.
“We are a group of about 100 artists and we are always looking for new members,” Dziomba said. “We put exhibits around the northern New Jersey area. It is a great opportunity for students to get their work out there and anyone can join.”
Students interested can visit the MSHAC website at http://www.mshac.org or contact Dziomba at mdziomba@aol. com.
Doney said the exhibition is a great opportunity, since it is the first time CCM students are exposing their artwork at MPAC.
“We usually have our exhibitions on campus, but our gallery is being renovated with the library,” Doney said. “So this opportunity couldn’t come at a better time, especially because it is very important to have this exposure in the community.”
There are 40 students involved in the exhibition. Doney had hand picked the pieces, one per student, and wanted to make sure their best work was on display.
“The show is fantastic, there are 40 great pieces on display,” Doney said.
A reception was held to celebrate the students’ work on March 26 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Art Upstairs Gallery.
Six students were awarded for best in show, two awards of merit and three honorable mentions.
The show is open to the public and pieces are for sale. According to Doney, a portion of the sales will support programs at MPAC.
“It is great because this is not just a school show,” Doney said. “It’s an actual competition, a taste of the real world for the students.”
Photographer Charles Miller and painter Michael Fenton were the guest judges.
Chris Siasat, fine arts major at CCM, is currently displaying a portrait of his friend at MPAC.
“The painting I have on display is a continuation of my series where I combined geisha [traditional Japanese women] and ‘day of the dead girl’ [women withtheir faces painted as skulls],” Siasat said. “The painting is acrylic and it is the first of a series of three paintings showing my friend. This is the first time I’m including her hands in any of my paintings of her.”
Siasat had participated in previous shows at the art gallery, Love is the Message in Jersey City and the Morristown Art Walk. He said that having his work currently displayed at MPAC will benefit his future as an artist.
“I tend to do acrylic most of the time but I also like charcoal, pastel and photography,” Siasat said. “As far as my inspirations are concerned, I am a big fan of geishas and ‘day of the dead girl.’ Usually I can’t decide which one I like more, so I just combined them.”
Those interested in visiting the exhibit at MPAC can contact Charles Miller at 973-539-0345 and schedule an appointment, according to the MPAC website.