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MCTC in the News: Women and Water Reflections

Posted on: December 15th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Rhea Pappas knew she wanted to pursue photography as early as high school, and at MCTC she was able to achieve that goal. She combined her love for water and photography to create stunning images under water. For Pappas, being underwater was serene and comforting and so she uses her photography to emulate that imagery. Pappas’ exhibit is on display in the Minnesota Marine Art Museum.

The original story, available here in the Minnesota Women’s Press, is posted in its entirety below.

 

Women and water reflections
CoverArtist: Fine arts photographer Rhea Pappas takes her camera underwater

by Norma Smith Olson

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Top photo: “Beneath the Surface – Free” Lower left: Cover artist, Rhea Pappas Lower right: “Beneath the Surface – Enter” “There’s something about water that feels like home. You can be alone, a moment for yourself, it’s your time, with freedom to express yourself in a non-judgmental way. When I’m underwater, I don’t feel objectified or judged, it’s just a place for me. I think a lot of other women feel the same way.” – Rhea Pappas

“It’s pretty simple – I love the water,” says Rhea Pappas, this month’s cover artist. “I was always considered a water baby. I’d be in the tub for hours.”

She’s a swimmer, sailor, scuba diver and – where she makes the biggest waves – an underwater photographer.

Beyond her own love of being in the water, Pappas also encourages other women to join her in the swimming pool. She takes pictures with her Aquatica AD700 camera of women underwater with fabrics flowing, often surrounded by bubbles. In one series of photos, Lingua Luna, a local music trio, included their musical instruments under the water.

“I think underwater lends itself to a very womanly presence. The light is gentle; there’s a lot of serenity underwater. It’s a very mystical, mythical, just a comforting place,” Pappas says.

That is, once you get past the whole fear of drowning. Pappas works with her models to ease any anxiety. “Being underwater can be scary for some people,” she says. “I’m not one of those people.”

Beneath the surface

A collection of photographs by Pappas will be on display from October to January at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona. The project grew out of her college senior thesis of individual women floating on the water with flowers and fabrics. She graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) with a degree in fine arts photography.

Within a year of graduating from MCAD she had equipped herself with an underwater camera and started taking photographs below the surface, capturing the reflections from above the water.

Pappas knew from her senior year at Perpich Arts High School that she would be a photographer. “I wasn’t built for the stage – my heart wasn’t there,” she says. She had started out in the singing program at Perpich, but learned quickly that she had stage fright. She found she preferred to be out of the spotlight and behind the camera.

Pappas was introduced to photography and darkroom processes in her first year of high school. “I found it very difficult, but I loved the challenge. Put me in an honors class, and I’d excel.”
For Pappas, this art form was mathematical and technical, with variable scientific components, like the sun being too bright for exposure. “I’m nerdy,” she says. Taking photos combines the logicaland the artistic sides of her brain. “My favorite things. It’s very rewarding.”

While in high school she took PSEO (Postsecondary Enrollment Options) classes in photography at MCAD and also at Minneapolis Technical and Community College. Her senior photographic portfolio led to her winning a substantial arts scholarship, which she used at MCAD.

Today, along with her passion for fine art photography, Pappas works with a digital camera and shoots weddings, senior portraits and events for businesses, such as Aveda and Caribou Coffee.

“I love capturing emotions and moments,” she says. “I’m going along on someone else’s journey and documenting it. It’s nice to be a part of somebody’s story, centered on someone else.”

FFI: www.rheapappas.com

You can watch Rhea Pappas at work with her underwater camera in a Minnesota Original episode, produced by Twin Cities Public Television: www.mnoriginal.org/episode/mn-original-show-103/rhea-pappas/

IFYOUGO:
What: Surfacing: Rhea Pappas
When: Oct. 23, 2015-Jan. 10, 2016; Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Minnesota Marine Art Museum, 800 Riverview Dr., Winona, MN 55987
Cost: Adults $7; students $3; children age 4 and under, free
FFI: 507-474-6626 or www.mmam.org

Stephanie Glaros, Connecting with the Human Side of the Story

Posted on: November 5th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Stephanie Glaros

Stephanie Glaros’ interest in social justice began her very first year of college. That interest took her on a long and rich path to several colleges, states, jobs and, presently, to the faculty roster at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and the Humans of Minneapolis.

“I took a Women’s Studies class at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and it helped me connect the dots between what I had been experiencing and what were systematic problems,” she said. “It was like a bell went off in my head.” Stephanie began seeing parallels between women’s social justice and other systemic issues. “At that point, the greater concept of social justice became not just an interest, but a passion.”

After transferring, working and finishing college in the Rocky Mountains, Stephanie traveled, took short-term jobs and eventually found herself working in downtown Minneapolis as a marketing assistant. “I was being directed by finance-minded people, and what they were asking me to do didn’t make sense intuitively. But I had no design background, and no vocabulary to describe why what they were telling me to do wasn’t right.”
Stephanie looked into design classes, and found MCTC in her backyard. “MCTC offered night classes at a time when I was working days. I could afford it, and it was located downtown,” she said. “While I was a student here, something just clicked for me. Graphic design was a way to combine my creative side with my desire to organize things. I felt like I finally found what I wanted to do when I grew up.”

After finishing her degree, Stephanie joined the small staff of the downtown Minneapolis-based Utne Reader magazine as its art director. There, she found a way to connect her career with her passion. “My educational background and trade fit with my interest in progressive politics and social justice issues,” she said. “I was a one-person art department. I had the opportunity to sift through some of the best photojournalism in the world. I learned the power of photojournalism and storytelling.”

It was the perfect match for Stephanie. “My background in graphic design and passion for social justice issues shape my work. My goal is to capture emotional stories, challenge prejudices, and increase empathy.” On her walks to work—camera in hand—she began capturing the emotional stories of  strangers in Minneapolis. “I took photos of anything I saw: the homeless shelter, the Greyhound Bus station; I found myself passing the same people every day, but I’d never interact with them. We were outside of each other’s circles. That started to feel very strange to me, and I decided to use my camera as an excuse to break that barrier.”

In 2010, the blog Humans of New York began publishing its collection of street photography. Stephanie followed it closely, drawn to the way the photographs shone a spotlight on otherwise overlooked individuals in the country’s largest city. Not long after, she realized she was already meeting and photographing the humans of Minneapolis. In 2013, she started her own blog by that name, bringing her pastime in line with a growing national movement to engage communities in storytelling.

“When I realized that’s where my interests had taken me, something clicked: telling stories is what I love to do. It brings together my background of photography, editorial journalism, graphic design and social justice.”

In the midst of her career and personal and professional growth, Stephanie was approached by one of her former Graphic Design instructors at MCTC who was about to take a sabbatical. He invited her to teach in his absence. That was the year 2011, and Stephanie has been teaching future generations of graphic designers ever since.

Today, in addition to teaching courses and telling the stories of the humans of Minneapolis, Stephanie writes a regular column in Southwest Journal, and is working on a community engagement project for the City of Minneapolis.

“I’ve realized how much of myself comes through in my work—not only in who I talk to, but in the parts of an interview I select. I’ve learned to trust my gut, and trust who I can connect with.”

MCTC to Host ”Race in America” Photo Exhibit With Civil Rights Leader as Guest of Honor

Posted on: January 29th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Race in America photoFormer students from MCTC’s Race in America: Then and Now course collaborated to host an exhibit of photography from the summer civil rights course over years past. The exhibit, a prominent feature in this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at the College, runs until Saturday, Jan. 31. A closing ceremony will take place this day from 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m. in the T Skyway, featuring a guest of honor who helped shape the civil rights movement.

The course, offered through the Higher Education Consortium of Urban Affairs (HECUA) and taught by MCTC Political Science Faculty Lena Jones, gives students the opportunity to travel to the southern United States to meet civil rights Movement leaders, visit historical civil rights sights and make connections between past and present struggles for justice and equality. MCTC is a member of the HECUA consortium and the MCTC Foundation generously awards scholarships to MCTC students taking part in the course.

The reception will feature singing, storytelling, discussions, reflections and an esteemed guest of honor: civil rights leader Hollis Watkins. Watkins has been immersed in the struggle for racial and economic justice for over 50 years. He was the first Mississippi student to become involved in 1961 in the Mississippi Voting Rights Project of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and since then, has co-founded several organizations including the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Southern Echo, an organization dedicated to providing leadership development, technical assistance, and training to grassroots organizations across the south and southwestern US.

The day’s events will take place as follows:

  • 10:30–11:00 a.m.—Reception Opens (T Skyway)
  • 11 a.m.–noon—The Civil Rights Movement Through Song: Singing and storytelling with Mr. Hollis Watkins (T Skyway)
  • 12:30–2 p.m.—Organizing and Movement Building: Past and Present: A Discussion with Mr. Hollis Watkins [Location To Be Determined]
  • 2:15–3 p.m.—Closing reflections and song with Mr. Hollis Watkins and contributors to the Race in America, Then and Now photo exhibit (T Skyway)

MCTC Hosts “Race in America” Photo Exhibit Reception with Guest of Honor

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Race in America signFormer students from MCTC’s Race in America: Then and Now course collaborated to host an exhibit of photography from the summer civil rights course over years past. The exhibit, a prominent feature in this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at the College, runs until Saturday, Jan. 31. A closing ceremony will take place this day from 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m. in the T Skyway, featuring a guest of honor who helped shape the civil rights movement.

The course, offered through the Higher Education Consortium of Urban Affairs (HECUA) and taught by MCTC Political Science Faculty Lena Jones, gives students the opportunity to travel to the southern United States to meet civil rights Movement leaders, visit historical civil rights sights and make connections between past and present struggles for justice and equality. MCTC is a member of the HECUA consortium and the MCTC Foundation generously awards scholarships to MCTC students taking part in the course.

The reception will feature singing, storytelling, discussions, reflections and an esteemed guest of honor: civil rights leader Hollis Watkins. Watkins has been immersed in the struggle for racial and economic justice for over 50 years. He was the first Mississippi student to become involved in 1961 in the Mississippi Voting Rights Project of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and since then, has co-founded several organizations including the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Southern Echo, an organization dedicated to providing leadership development, technical assistance, and training to grassroots organizations across the south and southwestern U.S.

MCTC Hosts National Photography Exhibit “Always Lost: A Meditation on War”

Posted on: December 9th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Always Lost photo exhibitExhibit runs Dec. 15–Jan. 23; features award-winning photos and literary works about war

Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) is honored to host the national traveling photography exhibit titled Always Lost: A Meditation on War. The memorial, comprised of thousands of photographs of U.S. military veterans and various literary works, was created by Western Nevada College and has been touring the country since 2010. It has received praise nationwide for its poignant memorials of past, current and future veterans.

The exhibit will be on display on the third floor of the MCTC Helland Student Center between Dec. 15 and Jan. 23 and can be viewed during MCTC’s hours of operation. A private space will be available adjacent to the exhibit for reflection. Images in the exhibit may contain graphic content and may not be suitable for children.

“The exhibit allows us to reflect on the costs of war, and highlights the importance of bringing service members all the way home, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well,” said Miki Huntington, MCTC Political Science instructor and veteran.

MCTC will host the exhibit in support of its participation in the statewide Beyond the Yellow Ribbon (BYTR) initiative. This initiative is intended to provide comprehensive support, resources and recognition for veterans on college campuses. The MCTC BTYR initiative is driven by a committee consisting of students, faculty and staff at the College.