Category Archives: Permanent Art Collection

A South Texas Ceramic Showdown

South Texas College gears up for its annual Ceramics Conference with two artists from Alpine, TX

South Texas College begins its 11th annual ceramics exhibition and workshop, “More than Coincidence: Continuations in Clay” to the Rio Grande Valley with an opening reception on June 22 at the Pecan Campus Library Art Gallery.

The exhibit will be on view from June 22 to August 11, 2017, at the Library Art Gallery and at the Art Building B Gallery, located at 3201 West Pecan Blvd. in McAllen. The event includes a full display of ceramic work by distinguished Texas ceramicists Gregory Tegarden and Amanda Calhoun as well as ceramic work from 12 universities and community colleges across the U.S.

“It should be really interesting on several levels once again,” said Chris Leonard, STC ceramics instructor and exhibit/conference organizer. “This year we are blessed to have a pair of artists making their way in and outside of clay with interesting backgrounds and shared histories. This should be an educational and entertainingly relevant event in terms of process, product, content, and use.”

South Texas College exhibits regional, national and international artwork, explores new visions and theories of creativity, and introduces innovative artistic expressions to the South Texas region.

The three-day South Texas Ceramic Showdown will begin with an opening reception on June 22 at the Pecan Campus Library Art Gallery and the Art Building B Gallery from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The conference will continue with Ceramic Demonstrations on June 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

One more demonstration will take place on Saturday, June 24 at 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at STC’s Pecan Campus Art Building (Bldg. B) Ceramics Lab. Art talks will be held on that day from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the same location. All activities are free and open to the public.

Participating institutions in the collaborative ceramic constructions include: Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Mesa Community College, NW Vista from the Alamo District Colleges, Ouachita Baptist University, Southeast Missouri State University, Texas A&M University – Kingsville, The University of North Texas, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, The University of Texas San Antonio, Washington University, and Wichita State University.

About the artists:

Gregory J. Tegarden is an Assistant Professor of Art at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. He received a Master of Fine Arts with a focus in Ceramics from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and a Bachelor’s of Science in Botany from Sul Ross State University. He is trained in the traditional Thai method of coil building or turning large ceramic vessels. His studio work consists functional ceramics that are influenced by the desert southwest and the austere environment found inside a kiln.

Amanda Calhoun embraces kitsch and her work is greatly influenced by classic films and television shows. Having worked for a handmade ceramic tile studio for fourteen years, she developed a love and a skill set for making tile. In this exhibition, she honors the women in her life with freeform tile portraits adorned with a headdresses of personal imagery.

For more information contact Gina Otvos at (956) 872-3488, or via email at or visit

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Emerging Artists: New Additions to the Collection

Technology Campus ExhibitSouth Texas College spotlights emerging artists
STC’s Library Art Gallery celebrates new additions to the college’s Permanent Art Collection with an exhibit that features new artists in Texas (and one from California). The exhibit will be on view at the Technology Campus June 5 through August 11, 2017. The STC Technology Campus Library Art Gallery is located at 3700 W. Military Hwy. in McAllen. Admission is free and open to the public.

The exhibit features works by artists who have exhibited and donated within the last two years at one of the college’s four library art galleries throughout the Rio Grande Valley in Hidalgo and Starr counties. Artists include Coco Rico, Xavier Perez, Manny Chapa, Xochi Solis, Jessie Rodriguez, Conrado Gonzalez, and Jesse Burciaga.

“It’s always interesting to be able to bring together our donated works of art into one exhibit,” said Max Garcia, South Texas College Librarian. “It creates a type of visual timeline of what we have exhibited. I’m excited to see the connections we see with these new artists.”

STC’s Library Art Gallery exhibits regional, national and international artwork, explores new visions and theories of creativity, and introduces innovative artistic expressions to the South Texas region.

For more information, contact Gina Otvos at or (956) 872-3488. For a complete listing of events, visit:


Collection at 3201: Number One – Landscape

Collection at 3201 is a project to promote accessibility and visibility of South Texas College’s Permanent Art Collection to students, faculty, staff and the community. We invite faculty and staff to pick an artwork from the collection and talk about how it has influenced the way they see the world. We hope this intersection of art and ideas inspires learning about art and culture in the Rio Grande Valley.

Sylvia Benitez, Guadalupe, Guadalupe, Oil on canvas, 84 x 72 inch. benitez

Contributed by Jessie Rodriguez, STC Library Art Gallery

When I look at Guadalupe, Guadalupe by Sylvia Benitez I am reminded of a Sigmund Freud quote: “the mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.” The analogy works here. Like the tip of the iceberg, what can clearly be seen in Benitez’s Guadalupe, Guadalupe is a view of a natural landscape depicting an inky orange sunrise at the Guadalupe River near her home in Seguin, Texas. Though the work is skillfully painted, I’m most drawn to the part of the painting that draws the subconscious mind. The emotions and feelings lie underneath the surface like the base of the iceberg that stretches far below the ocean. Beyond what we see, landscape painting, the viewer is transported into pockets of distant shadows and allowed to discover and walk into the depths of the painting or the corners of the subconscious mind. The viewer is drawn in, transported, submerged into the memory of the previous dawns and the context of those experiences.

Benitez’s large scale painting alludes to the Romantic era of the 1800s and explores the vastness of the natural world in her landscape paintings. By placing the horizon line lower in the painting, she creates a dreamlike atmosphere of a bright orange morning where we can catch a glimpse into a moment in Benitez’s vision. The dreamlike environment that she paints draws the viewer into this otherworldly realm. What fascinates me about Guadalupe, Guadalupe is how sublime the nature is even with the gestural brushstroke landscape. It becomes a vehicle for expressing a range of psychological and emotional states by the artist. Although I could never know the emotions and feelings going through an artist’s mind, I can only interpret what it means to me and connect in a more spiritual way or remember a feeling that I only experienced at a certain time and place.

Sylvia Benitez trained as an abstract painter in the 1970s at the University of Maryland. She moved to NYC in 1980 and lived there for twenty years until eventually relocating to Seguin, Texas. Her painting was accepted into South Texas College’s Permanent Art Collection in 2016.