Southeastern University CAM student gallery

Originally written by Eric Pera and published by the Ledger Media Group. Visit the to view the original article.

LAKELAND — Southeastern University unveiled its burgeoning commitment to the arts Thursday evening with the debut of its College of Arts & Media Gallery.

The gallery will be open to the public during business hours beginning Wednesday. It is situated within the sprawling $22 million Buena Vida Building, which comprises Southeastern’s business college, the newly completed College of Arts & Media, student housing, classrooms and more.

A private reception Thursday allowed college benefactors a chance to peruse the gallery and chat with Jonathan Simon, an accomplished artist and arts instructor who has been hired to help build Southeastern’s fledgling arts program.

This fall, the private, Christian liberal arts university will debut a bachelor’s program in visual arts.

The gallery, and indeed the entire College of Arts & Media facility, is evidence of Southeastern’s robust development, said Kent Ingle, president of Southeastern.

“This is wonderful,” he said during Thursday’s reception. “We have an absolute commitment to the arts. This is a historic moment.”

The gallery’s inaugural exhibit is all about Simon, 43, a realist painter who primarily uses oil on linen canvas. He holds a bachelor’s in fine arts in illustration from Memphis College of Art, and a master’s in fine arts in painting from the New York Academy of Figurative Art.

Having taught previously at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and Frostburg State University, Simon left academia in 2012 to return to painting full time.

He said he was drawn back into teaching for the challenge of building a program at Southeastern.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s coming in on the ground floor,” he said. “It’s like an egg; we’re just hatching, but the potential is endless.”

The art gallery was designed with the future in mind, especially in attracting professional exhibitions.

Published: January 19, 2018