Coloring Outside the Lines

Photo by Leigh Williams '14

A bin of orange bouncy balls caught Sidney Mullis’ eye during a routine trip to Wal-Mart.  The University of Mary Washington studio art major snapped up a plastic ball and pondered the creative possibilities. She transformed the cheap childhood toy into wearable art that she later filmed for a performance art piece called “Straight.” The coming-of-age work earned her the Melchers Gray Purchase Award  at UMW’s annual student art exhibition in April, ensuring the work a place in UMW’s permanent art collection. Mullis, already an accomplished artist as a 2014 graduate, often traverses the line between art and theatre in her work. She isn’t afraid to take risks, and admits she doesn’t fit neatly into conventional categories. “I don’t really know where I sit in between the two [disciplines], and I’m actually happy about that,” she said. “I think there is something more interesting to me when I don’t know. I think that goes into my working process, too.” With “Straight” and … [Read more...]

Wheels of Change

Photographer

Carole Garmon found her inspiration among piles of trash. On a trip to the Stafford County dump, the chair of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Mary Washington snapped up what others might have passed by without a second glance– two dirty, dilapidated bicycles. Now, more than a year later, Garmon and her art students are collecting and refurbishing discarded or broken-down bikes. They are embellishing them with their own artistic spin, with plans to launch an informal bike share program this semester. “What started with me bringing in two bikes has grown into the Art Bike/Shared Bike project,” Garmon said. In tandem with Garmon’s efforts, the President’s Council on Sustainability is also exploring ways to make the university more bike-friendly through a formal bike plan. Joni Wilson, director of sustainability, serves as the bridge between both groups. She and Garmon hope to debut two finished bikes in conjunction with RecycleMania, an annual … [Read more...]

Where Science and Art Meet

Dr. Tom Riley, university physician and director of the health center, looks at his artwork on his iPad

The University of Mary Washington is a unique meeting place for science and art. UMW’s physician, Dr. Tom Riley, epitomizes the two coming together in full force. Riley, who also is director of the Student Health Center, has focused on science and health since adolescence. After college, he worked at a private family practice for 23 years before coming to UMW in 2007. Many don’t realize that he has been an artist for just as long. The blend of Riley’s artistic and scientific talents is manifested in the giant murals that embellish the walls of the newly renovated Mason and Randolph residence halls. The murals are enlarged versions of Riley’s panoramic photographs of the James, York and the Rappahannock rivers. “I had to do a lot of different things to get those murals to that size,” said Riley. Each mural is about 8 feet high. The longest one is 104 feet, and took 55 individual pictures to create. His photos offer an aesthetic delight in and of themselves, and not … [Read more...]