Islander Sculpture Students Wow Crowd at City Arts & Cultural Commission Showcase

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas—The wearable wings and kinetic cars created by Islander students in Professor Leticia Bajuyo’s Sculpture I class were the visual highlight of the Open Air Arts Evening, an inaugural event presented by the Corpus Christi Arts & Cultural Commission (ACC) at the Courtyard in Heritage Park on May 14.

Ten Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students – Zeth Carrillo ’22, Chloe Green ’22, Gabriella Hoss ’23, Christopher Janssen ’22, Teresa McMahon ’21, Bailey Pauley ’22 , Teresa Priour ’22, Zoe Rhodes ’22, Alyssa Weaver ’22, and Anevay Witherspoon ’22 – created wearable wings sculptures that were displayed at the event. In addition, Melissa Garcia ’23, Cody War ’23, Zach Peterson ’21, and Alex Ramirez ’21 created cars made of wire and other household items that were “driven” by a volunteer group of Sculpture I students at the event.

Hoss said she named her wearable wings sculpture “Trash Can” because it is inspired by the plight of the Northern Fulmar seabird found in and around the Pacific Ocean.

“Scientists have done studies on the Northern Fulmar and have found large amounts of micro plastics and trash in their bodies,” Hoss said. “For my project, I used entirely found and recycled trash and materials. It addresses our problem of consumption, consumerism, wastefulness, and pollution as a society.”

For her project, McMahon chose to focus on fairy wings because she wanted to get in touch with the lighter parts of her personality.

“The general concept was opening myself up to the brighter things in life,” McMahon said. “Most of my artwork isn't as bright or as colorful as this project, and I was looking to change things a little.”

Janssen said his project “Articulating Wings” (below) featured a mechanical innovation of his own design.

“I wanted to expand on the concept of ‘wearable wings’ by incorporating accordion hinges and a pulley system to allow the wings to articulate at will,” Janssen said. “With the pull of a string, the wings can open and close.”

Janssen said he was excited to have an opportunity to showcase his sculpture in a public setting. 

“It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to show my piece in a public venue, to allow the populace to see my work and to be able to receive feedback that is not purely academic critique,” he said.

Hoss said the event was the first opportunity to showcase a sculptural piece beyond campus for most Sculpture I students in the class.   

“Personally, I was very excited not only for myself but also for my classmates – we were able to showcase all the work we put into our pieces,” Hoss said. “For me to share my piece with the public and not just my peers means so much to me. I want my piece to create conversation.”

The Open Air Arts Evening was an opportunity for members of the Arts & Cultural Commission –which includes Dr. Abu Waheeduzzaman, TAMU-CC professor of Marketing and International Business – to meet with the public amid a backdrop that included live music performed by the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra Trio (CCSO) – which included Dr. Jose Flores, TAMU-CC professor of Music, and Dr. Carrie Pierce, TAMU-CC associate professor of Music.

As ACC Vice Chair and TAMU-CC Performing Arts Center Director Jim Moore explained, the event took advantage of the opportunity to showcase music and art in an outdoor setting that adhered to COVID-19 guidelines.

“The event was very successful, especially in light of it being our first-ever showcase of its kind,” Moore said. “For me, the most memorable aspect was seeing people enjoy the CCSO play live. It was an opportunity for the public to hear and see the players outside of the concert hall in a unique environment – in absolutely perfect weather. Our plan is to continue offering similar outdoor events in other locations around the city during the spring and fall.”

Dr. Laura Petican, TAMU-CC associate professor and director of University Galleries, is in her second term since first joining the commission in 2015; she serves as Arts & Cultural Commission chair. Petican said several Department of Art + Design faculty participated in supporting the event: Joshua Duttweiler, TAMU-CC assistant professor of Graphic Design, provided graphic design services; Jennifer Garza-Cuen, TAMU-CC assistant professor of Photography, provided photography services; and TAMU-CC Associate Professor of Sculpture Leticia Bajuyo shared the work of her undergraduate students.  

“Being able to collaborate with TAMU-CC faculty and students meant that the impact of our collective efforts to highlight the arts and culture in the city of Corpus Christ was even more robust,” Petican said. “It brought awareness to the community about the breadth and variety of cultural production in the city and indicated possibilities for even more multidisciplinary arts events in the future.”