By day, they’re construction managers, academic advisors, professors, IT managers, administrative assistants and librarians. But in their spare time, many University of North Texas faculty and staff members are artists. This August, their creative talents will be on display in the On My Own Time exhibition at UNT on the Square.
The free exhibition will feature 58 artworks from 34 UNT employees Aug. 2 (Thursday) through Aug. 14 (Tuesday) at UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St. on Denton’s historic courthouse square. An opening reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 10 (Friday). Admission is free. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
“On My Own Time allows Denton and the UNT community to recognize the individualism and creativity of our employees,” said Meredith Buie, coordinator of the exhibition and administrative coordinator for the UNT Institute for the Advancement of the Arts and UNT on the Square. “I think it’s incredibly inspiring to see creative work produced by people who work so hard at their regular jobs and still have time and discipline to produce something so great and personal. It’s not only beneficial to the viewers, but I think it’s important for the artists to have the chance to show off their talents and be proud of their personal accomplishments.”
On My Own Time is an annual art exhibition featuring artwork created outside of working hours by people working for companies and non-profit and governmental agencies throughout North Texas.
Winners in each of 11 categories such as painting, black and white photography and sculpture will be selected by regional arts experts. In addition, the jurors select a Best of Show winner, and employees are asked to vote for a “People’s Choice” winner. Works that have been awarded a First Prize and Best of Show award in each category are selected to move on to the regional exhibit, in which the best artworks from all of the companies involved are exhibited together at NorthPark Center in September.
Lisa Vining, a part-time creative writing assistant who coordinates the Visiting Writers Series and the UNT Rilke Prize in the Department of English, has submitted a papier-mâché sculpture of a Day of the Dead skeleton for the exhibition. She’s exhibited her artwork elsewhere, but this will be her first item in a UNT venue.
“I love the idea of connecting to the community through UNT but as part of the community as well,” she said. “Entering into this exhibition, there will be people I will meet and I’ll make new connections, and I thought it was a great opportunity.”
Vining also has exhibited her artwork at ACME Art Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, and had an installation of skeletons in a Brooklyn, N.Y., show that included poetry, art and prose. Last year, she was a guest artist in choreographer Jose Zamora’s CholoRock show at Green Space Arts Collective in Denton. A few years ago, she created a performance piece with Kristina Isabelle for a Day of the Dead show in Columbus, Ohio.
“Day of the Dead is such an amazing holiday about remembrance, thinking of your loved ones who have passed away and honoring them for a day,” Vining said. “It’s not a morose or sad holiday; it really is a celebration of someone else’s life, and if you have ever gone through the grief process, you get to a point where the grief is closed and you want to look at pictures and smile and remember.”
John Flippin works as a construction manager for UNT but took art classes while earning a bachelor’s degree in education from UNT.
“I painted until the 1980s and then stopped for almost 20 years. I referred to myself after 19 years of not painting as an artist, and I realized that was erroneous. So I’ve been doing one or two pieces a year since about 2004 or so,” said Flippin, whose work also is on display at Soho Salon in Denton.
In the UNT exhibition, Flippin will exhibit a surreal painting of circles – part of a series.
“Showing it is a part of expressing the fact that you are proud of what you have done,” he said.
On My Own Time, now in its 20th year, is a program of the Business Council for the Arts. With support from Vice President for Administration and Finance Andrew Harris, UNT’s participation is being coordinated by a Steering Committee including Charles Andrews, Rachel Grimes, Dilana King, and Hillary Talatzko from the Staff Council, Meredith Buie and Herbert Holl at UNT on the Square, and Robert Milnes, dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design and chair of the UNT Art in Public Places Program.
What: On My Own Time — An exhibition of artwork from University of North Texas faculty and staff members
When: Aug. 2 (Thursday) – Aug. 14 (Tuesday)
Reception: 5:30 p.m. Aug. 10 (Friday)
Gallery hours: 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Where: UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St. on Denton’s historic courthouse square
Contact: 940-369-8257 or untonthesquare.unt.edu