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Locals taking part in art show

Chelsea Huggins of McKenzie uses acrylics in a paint-by-mouth piece. Huggins will have several pieces displayed in LBW Community College’s 32nd annual student art show, which be held May 5-12 in the art gallery on the Andalusia campus. (Courtesy photo)

Chelsea Huggins of McKenzie uses acrylics in a paint-by-mouth piece. Huggins will have several pieces displayed in LBW Community College’s 32nd annual student art show, which be held May 5-12 in the art gallery on the Andalusia campus. (Courtesy photo)

A pair of Butler County natives will display their works of art at LBW Community College’s 32nd annual student art show.

The show will be held May 5-12 in the art gallery on the Andalusia campus.

Chelsea Huggins of McKenzie will have several of her paintings on display, while Greenville’s Eden Williamson will display an acrylic painting of a sunflower.

Huggins has become somewhat of a well-known artist in Butler County.

In October of 2010, at the age of 18, Chelsea was a passenger in a Jeep that left the roadway and left her badly injured. The accident left Huggins paralyzed from the chest down.  Huggins spent the next four months at the Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta. It’s there she discovered her love for painting.

Huggins has created her own line of artwork, Mouth Art by Chelsea Rae Huggins. She has sold a number of pieces and also had her work displayed at High Horse Gallery in downtown Greenville, prior to the gallery’s closing.

“I had always been interested in art, even before my accident,” Huggins said. “I didn’t really paint. I preferred drawing because I could be more precise and erase if I messed up. But during my therapy at the Shepherd Center they introduced me to painting.”

Her first work, which she painted by holding the brush between her teeth, was a flower that she says her mom has held onto all these years.

“It wasn’t great, but I did it, and I realized I could do it,” she said.

From that flower blossomed a love for painting.

With practice, Huggins paintings became more detailed and she gained confidence.

In 2014, one of Huggins’ paintings was chosen to be displayed on the walls of the Reeve Foundation headquarters in Short Hills N.J., as part of a 10 painting collection for Expressions of Paralysis.

Next month, her work will be displayed alongside the works of her fellow students.

“Our students submitted individual pieces in different categories, such as drawings in black and white, drawings in color, two-dimensional design, and graphic design,” said Misti Purvis, art instructor. “Drawing 1 students have completed a fantastic still life and are working on their photo realistic images, all done in graphite. Drawing II students created large, colorful pastel drawings along with working in color pencils.”

Students also created two-dimensional Photoshop graphic design, such as covers for magazines and DVD cases and figure ground reversals, all incorporating symmetry and radial balance, she said.

Makaylin Colvin of Andalusia is a freshman art major, following in the steps of her artist mother.

 

“I grew up with art. My mom majored in art and we’ve created art all my life,” she said. In fact, she won county fair blue ribbons for her childhood art. My favorite medium is a tie between colored pencils and pastels.”

A graduate of Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., she attended Straughn Elementary through the sixth grade, she said.

Upon completing her degree at LBW, Colvin plans to transfer to Troy University to major in graphic design.

“I’m really excited about the show,” she said. “I have some pieces from last semester and this semester that I’m happy to show off.”

Carrie Hendrix of Red Level is majoring in interior design and says the drawing classes she’s had at LBW have helped her more than she imagined.

“It is helping me learn how to draw a lot better,” which is something she must be able to do in her chosen field, she said.

“I love making new things, making it look pretty,” Hendrix said. “I enjoy the esthetics of it.”

Of all the pieces she will have on exhibit, her favorite is the “Lotus,” an acrylic painting she said she never thought she could do.

A graduate of Red Level High School, Hendrix is a sophomore at LBW and will complete her degree requirements fall semester. While a definite transfer institution is not yet selected, she is seriously considering Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver, Colo.

The public is invited to attend a reception in the gallery to honor the art students on May 5 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. The gallery is located in the William H. McWhorter Learning Resource Center on the LBWCC Andalusia campus, and open for viewing Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.