JCJC hosts Mississippi artists, Smith and Ross

ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from Jones County Junior College

Two art educators from Co-Lin Community College will have their artwork on display at Jones County Junior College's Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery this month.  Featuring the pottery from Fine Arts Division Chair, Janet Smith and the newly retired art instructor, Tom Ross's oil paintings will be on display through the 21st.

The two artists first met in college at Co-Lin, according to Smith.  She had just graduated in 1984 and Ross was her first art instructor.  It only seems appropriate to share the gallery spotlight with her retired colleague and mentor.  Smith said working with clay is her favorite medium, dating back to when her mother bought her first pottery wheel when she was 10-years old.   A platter, similar to the one from her childhood memories is on display at JCJC.

"I remember making what I thought at the time was a huge platter that we could put the turkey on.  I still laugh when I show the tiny two-inch form to my students and tell them this is how I started.  They get very encouraged!" said Smith.

She continued her education at MSU and began teaching ceramics at Co-Lin part-time as she earned her master's degree from Mississippi College in 1993.  After teaching for 27 years at the main campus in Wesson, Smith has been the division chair for nearly three years. However, she always goes back to her roots in pottery when creating pieces for peace of mind.

"I have my best talks with God, my mom, my dad and my sister when I am in the clay.  It has been a rough few years, losing them was so hard. My faith and my art helped me so much," said Smith.

Some of her pieces of work are functional but there several that are whimsical too.   The opposite is true of her colleague's work on display at JCJC.  The focus of his artwork is predominately nature and family. Ross said most of his work on display reflects a lifetime of painting the landscapes during his travels out west.  Also on display are a couple of pictures of from his private collection, including a painting of his daughter, Arwen.

"My favorite subject matter is the landscape. I have loved the outdoors and observing the forms and colors of nature my entire life. Many of these paintings are of family members and most recently, landscapes from northwest Wyoming from September, 2013."

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. through 3 p.m., and Fridays, 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.