As hundreds of college students caravanned down to Florida, one group of Ivy Tech-Bloomington students boarded a plane to Guatemala this past spring break.
It was there they learned about fair trade and worked to build new facilities for Guatemalan coffee farmers.
Their journey was documented by Ivy Tech-Bloomington faculty member Chelsea Rood-Emmick, who took photographs of the students throughout the trip.
These photos make up one of the four new exhibits opening Friday at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, with an opening reception from 5-8 p.m.
The exhibit shows 21 different photographs accompanied with quotes written by the students in journals while they were in Guatemala.
The photos depict the international experiences of the students, the students’ construction of the buildings on the farms and the process of growing and selling coffee.
The students also constructed a coffee storage building and repaired a farmer’s house, where about 25 people and 200 chickens were living, Crood-Emmick said.
The photos in the exhibit offer the students and faculty a way to show off a great program from Ivy Tech, Crood-Emmick said.
“Ours is a unique program because it’s scholarship-based,” she said. “This is a learning opportunity these students wouldn’t have otherwise. Most of them have never traveled or done service trips.”
The second exhibit opening Friday is a showcase of 22 different artists who are part of Bloomington potter’s guild Local Clay.
Guild member Susan Snyder is showing two different pieces.
One piece is a tile-frame mirror, which is a project Snyder said she has never completed before.
Creating the piece involved hand-painting 16 tiles to place around a two-foot mirror.
Snyder uses a process called Maiolica, which she learned in Italy.
The third exhibit also features international experiences through the work of two sisters, Deborah and Abby Gitlitz.
The show is a dual exhibit focusing on food. Deborah is exhibiting her photographs of food from Mexico, India and the United States.
“Those are cultures that have these outdoor markets where food is on display,” Abby said. “It’s a feast for the eyes and just something we don’t do here.”
Abby is a glass blower who focused her work on food-related cake stands, fake food and other random objects.
The glass is created with bright, vibrant colors that offer a sense of whimsy, Abby said.
The sisters’ use of bright colors comes from the time they spent in Central America as young girls.
“In Central America, more colors is a good thing,” Abby said. “That has definitely influenced my color pallet.”
The food theme came from the enticing quality of food that has always attracted the artist, Abby said.
“There’s something about food that is exciting,” Abby said. “It’s unlimited. It can be beautiful, it can be crazy, it can be disgusting, it can be everything in between.”
The eight pieces of blown glass and the 15 photographs serve as the sisters’ first joint show together.
“I hope that it brings people joy,” Abby said. “I want people to think about it and let their own imaginations run wild.”
The fourth exhibit shows the recent works of artist Nakima Ollin. Each exhibit will remain open until May 31.