GCC Students Focus on Local Artists

New Art Appreciation Class Visits the Studio of Jeff Swift

Dansville, New York—The Genesee Community College at Dansville initiated a new course this spring semester entitled, “Art Appreciation with a Focus on Local Art.” The course emphasizes an interactive approach that includes creative group projects, research, exploring the local art scene and writing weekly summaries. Students are discovering the value of local artwork while meeting artists in an array of different media who are actively producing work that contributes not only to our vibrant arts community but also to our economy.

This past week, GCC students joined art instructor Heather Jones and toured the studio of contemporary artist Jeff Swift, a custom metal artist working in Dansville, NY. GCC student, Ricki Sleggs of Groveland, NY and a GCC Veterinary Technology major shared the following reflections from the studio tour.

“In our constantly changing society, there are few tasks that are done in a similar fashion throughout history. Jeff Swift, owner of Swift Custom Metal Fabrication of Dansville, New York, creates unique, inventive, and quality products to suit his client’s needs using techniques that have been used for generations.

Since 2003, Swift Custom Metal has created high quality furniture, fixtures, architectural hardware, and fine art using a variety of metals. Located in the New York Finger Lakes region, Swift brings a unique art form to the community and welcomes the opportunity to share his knowledge and expertise. Jeff states: “Art is a lifestyle” He has shaped his art philosophy from seeing and observing several inspirational mentors over the years. Swift works mainly with large international companies on commission projects. He also has dedicated time locally to collaborate with SUNY Geneseo offering foundry classes that give students’ hands-on experience to explore metal working.”

Fellow GCC student Rachel Doe stated: “Using the contrast of smooth and rough textures, the artwork that Jeff creates appears new and modern, though he tries to stay away from the idea of ‘contemporary’ in order to make art that is truly original. Students seem to thoroughly enjoy the good natured artist and what he had to share about his life and artwork.”

Swift has transformed an old school house into a functional and contemporary studio serving as a non-commercial foundry. The welcoming environment combines a rustic, yet modern feel that adds to the value of the work produced by Swift Custom Metal. The craftsmanship and dedication Swift puts into his work is breathtaking and is a wonderful experience for anyone interested in art.

“GCC’s Fine Arts program is offering more and more opportunities for creative minds of all kinds to discover and participate in our region’s dynamic arts community,” Heather Jones said. “We’d like to invite everyone to the Batavia Campus at the end of March for our special Arts Awareness Week.”

The Genesee Center for the Arts is offering two days of workshops that are free and open to the public on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM in the Forum with local artists demonstrating origami, bookbinding, pottery, needle felting, painting and more. On Thursday, March 29, 2012, Jeffrey Sweet will be presenting a workshop on playwriting, as well as the one-man performance of “You Only Shoot the Ones You Love.”

For further information, contact Heather Jones, Genesee Community College art instructor at hsjones@genesee.edu.

For further information about Jeff Swift and his Swift Custom Metal studio email swiftcustommetal@gmail.com.

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