As the new academic year begins, art on campus will be a focus at Catawba College. The College will host an exhibit of Whimziggy's artwork in the Corriher-Linn-Black Library beginning Friday, August 14. The approachable artwork created under the Whimziggy brand is the collaborative artistic effort of two friends – Catawba alumna Meredith Knowles Abramson '96 and Lenoir Rhyne University alumna Emily Brinkselle '00, both teachers.
Catawba will host a reception for members of the College and local community to meet these artists and view their work between 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, August 30 in the library. The artwork will be available for viewing during the regular operating hours of the Corriher-Linn-Black Library between Monday, August 17 and Friday, October 2, the date the exhibit concludes on campus.
Catawba Alumni Director Margaret Faust '89 says she was delighted that the College was able to host an exhibit for Whimziggy, especially because of the alumni connection it creates through Abramson. “Their artwork is fun! It will be a welcoming installation for both our on-campus folks as well as community friends.”
A commitment to public art on campus is part of Catawba's strategic plan. Annually, steps are taken to further integrate art onto the campus. This year, Catawba is one of the four local institutions of higher education participating in the Salisbury Sculpture Show. Catawba has four pieces of sculpture displayed on the Chapel side of campus through December of 2015.
Abramson and Brinkselle met in 2003 at a mutual friend's baby shower and claimed they instantly knew they would be friends. Although it took several years for their paths to cross again, in 2006, Brinkselle invited Abramson to take part in a 12-week, informal group study of Julia Cameron's Artist's Way. As these two, along with other like-minded artists, graphic designers, writers, and creative types came together to create art projects, discuss readings and provide support for each other's creative dreams, the idea of Whimziggy was born. The two found that their artistic styles blended nicely, and that they made a great team. They call the years since their relationship was born in 2003 “bountiful.”
The two have seen their artwork featured throughout the state of North Carolina – the juried Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF), Waynesville's Folkmoot International Festival, and Waterworks Visual Arts Center 50th Anniversary Artists' Invitational. Their artistic creations have been sold through local galleries, in-home shows, and through their Etsy site – shipping pieces across the country, and to far-away places like Australia and Japan.
Abramson has been a teacher in the Rowan-Salisbury School System since 1996. For the first 18 years of her career, she taught middle and high school English and segued into the art classroom in the spring of 2014. An outstanding educator, she was the winner of the North Carolina Association of Educators' Terry Sanford Award which recognizes creativity and innovation in teaching, and the runner-up Teacher of the Year for the Rowan-Salisbury School District. She and husband Andy live in Salisbury with daughters Macy, 13, and Miles, 10.
Brinkselle has taught in the North Carolina Public School System since 2001, the year after she earned her bachelor's degree in Art Education. She was recognized as the Lexington Middle School Teacher of the Year in 2003. An excellent artist, she has earned awards in the Alamance County Arts Council Show, as well as the Margaret Berry Award in oil painting. She currently teaches elementary school art in Burlington, N.C., where she and husband Ed make their home with children Izzy, 10, and Cole, 8.