Building Bridges art exhibit at college

| 30 Sep 2011 | 08:25

Middletown — Husband and wife sculptors/artists Najim H. Chechen and Caroline Prieur Schulz will exhibit their works — Building Bridges to Understanding and Peace — in Orange Hall Gallery, from Aug. 23 to Sept. 10. There will be a reception on Saturday, Aug. 28, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. The show goes beyond the norm of just exhibiting artworks to a means of promoting peace and understanding between two cultures which are oftentimes at odds. Chechen said, “I hope to foster healing and understanding between the two cultures — American and Iraqi. American families have also lost sons, daughters, dads, and moms in this war. Both cultures can benefit by recognizing the humanity of the other and feeling compassion for the other. Both cultures can benefit by valuing what is beautiful in the other.” During the reception the artists will give short demonstrations of how they create their works or art, and then, explain background, origin, inspiration, and messages of their works. The medium of choice for this series of his sculptures is terracotta. Most of these figures represent Najim’s relatives. “When I create these terracotta figures, I am visualizing individuals,” said Chechen. In addition to Chechen’s works, his wife will have lithographs and bronzes, pastels and prints in the show. Her works also follow the same theme, “utilization of art in developing positive communication between Iraqis and Americans.” Chechen earned a BFA from the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Baghdad in 1970 and a MFA from Pratt Institute in 1984. He founded the Fine Art Studios Sculpture Center in Otisville, where he conducts several series of workshops for adults as well as a bronze casting foundry. Schulz was an apprentice of bronze casting at the Johnson Atelier School of Sculpture. She earned a BA from Barnard College, an MFA from Pratt Institute, and M.Ed from Teachers College, Columbia University. In 2000, she co-founded with her husband the Hudson Valley Sculptors’ Society. Orange Hall is located at the corner of Wawayanda and Grandview Avenues, in Middletown. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. Questions may be directed to Cultural Affairs at 341-4891 and See also