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Senior Art Exhibit Showcases Works by Emerging Artists

Tattoo art.

Photo by Jess Singer

The senior art exhibit of three graduating Georgian Court University students will be on display May 7–25 in the M. Christina Geis Art Gallery on GCU’s historic Lakewood campus. The gallery is on the second floor of Jeffries Hall, and admission is free.

The senior art exhibit, which includes a May 8 reception from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., features the work of:
* Farris Ellington, a biology major with a minor in art, who competes with the GCU Lions track & field team;
* Amanda Mercadante, who also holds a degree from Ocean County College and is earning her GCU degree in education and visual arts; and
* Jess Singer, an aspiring art educator currently teaching alongside her longtime mentor at Jackson Memorial High School.

Senior Art Exhibit Will Leave Viewers Wanting More

“Each student has a unique perspective on the world, and this is evident in their work,” says Leo Morrissey, GCU associate professor of art and chair of the Department of Art and Visual Studies.

“The colorfully abstract work of Amanda Mercadante, with its biomorphic references in space, is truly intriguing. Jess Singer’s figurative studies incorporating tattoos suggest their influence and power on pop culture.

“Farris Ellington’s illustrative and graphic representations of both the real and mythical are stunning; one cannot help but wonder,” says Mr. Morrissey. “Each of these young women creates work that leaves the viewer wanting more, and we look forward to seeing it in the future.”

Art: Open to Interpretation

For Amanda, the beauty of the senior art exhibit is what others make of it.

“I’m not quite sure what it is that I do, but I know that it’s art,” she says, describing her passion for her chosen profession. “I am so excited to showcase some of the work I have been creating. When asked what it is that I paint, I always answer, ‘I don’t know,’ and that’s the truth.

“I don’t know what it is that I paint, but that’s the point,” says Amanda. “There is no subject…it is what you want it to be.”

Classmate and fellow artist Farris Ellington has a different perspective when it comes to art. The Atco, New Jersey, native played Division II sports, pursued microbiology research during her time at GCU, and was equally drawn to art.

“My favorite place on campus is the art department,” she says. “It’s the only place that I can guarantee as a de-stressor. Art has always been something that takes my mind off things, and whether I’m listening to music or talking with my art classmates, I always walk away calm and relaxed.”

Colleague Jess Singer, who fell in love with art after a high school teacher invited her to take an advanced class, is eager to inspire younger students. For the past six months, she has been working at Jackson Memorial High School, her alma mater.

“My passion for creating art continues to grow, and my experiences in teaching art in the high school classroom confirm that this is where I belong,” says Jess. “I love helping my students be creative and develop works of art to their greatest potential. That has been the most rewarding part of this journey!”

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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