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Cheyney University Students' Art on Display in State Capital

February 27, 2014

Just a sampling of some of the Cheyney University masks on display in Harrisburg, PA now through April 14.

Just a sampling of some of the Cheyney University masks on display in Harrisburg, PA now through April 14.

Cheyney University Fine Arts Honor Society (FAHS) students have their work currently on display in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's (PASSHE's) Dixon University Center in Harrisburg, PA. Previously only Kutztown University (KU) students and faculty had artwork displayed in two rotating exhibits in the Dixon Center's expansive lobby and atrium hallway. This year, however, Cheryl Hochberg, KU's Chair of the Fine Arts Department and exhibit organizer, invited students from PASSHE's 13 other state schools to submit work for consideration. Not all submitted work is accepted.

Cheyney senior liberal arts major and FAHS President Angelitta Anderson submitted a 3-D Punu African-inspired mask that judges admitted into the exhibit. "Punu masks represent the spirit of an ancestor," Anderson explains. "They are commonly found throughout western and central Gabon and typically are of the female face. The hairdo usually has two-sided braids--a hairstyle commonly used by women of that region." Anderson used plaster on her own face to make the mask and rhinestones to detail it. Turns out, the mask was for a homework assignment for her African American Art class.

"Angelitta's work was submitted to the exhibition from a photograph I took of a mask she produced from my African Art class," offers Professor Helena Domenic. "It was a piece that I considered to be an exemplary result of the Mask Assignment. After seeing Angelitta's mask, the juror decided she really liked the idea of having more three-dimensional work represented in the exhibition which, up until we entered it, had all been paintings, drawings and the like." In the end, the organizer wound up using all of the Cheyney masks in the exhibit which is based on excellence.  "I am extremely proud of our students," Domenic exclaims. "I have given the Mask Assignment every semester for the past 10 years, and every semester the students produce better and better work. This past semester was some of the best I have seen so far!"

FAHS members who have 3-D masks (representing African regions) in the exhibit are: Hanif-ah Camper, Kendra Mickens, Morgan Scott, Serina Maignan, Beionka Green, Danyelle Alston-Johnson, Larisha Howell G'taya Archie, Johnea Robinson, and Mabintou Ndiaye.

Anderson, Scott, Domenic and Marietta Dantonio-Madsen, CU's Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Fine Arts, Design and Liberal Studies (FADLS) Department, recently attended a reception at the Dixon Center where PASSHE Chancellor Frank T. Brogan perused the exhibit and spent time talking to the artists. 

The exhibit is open from now until April 14.  For directions to the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg, click on www.dixonuniversitycenter.org/directions.asp.