Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Theatrical Performance of August Wilson's "Fences" and The Freedom Dreams Art Show

Art show opening reception Wednesday 11/30/22 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Location: West Wing Gallery of the Karen Sprague Cultural Arts Center, 1000 State Street, Springfield, MA Refreshments will be served. You are invited to join us!

Theater @ AIC Presents: August Wilson's Fences.  Friday 12/2/22 @ 7:30 pm, Saturday 12/3/22 @ 7:30 pm and Sunday 12/4/22 @ 2:30 pm. Admission is free and donations are appreciated.  Location: Esther B, Griswold Theatre, 1000 State Street, Springfield, MA Fences explores the evolving African American experience, race relations and an emotionally damaged lead character who struggles with his past while trying to provide for his family.

At the art show reception, visitors will be able to engage in the "Imagine more than dots" project, by creating artworks and posting right on the gallery walls.  Professor John Nordell explains the project in an article he wrote for the Massachusetts Art Education Association News.  Click here and then scroll down to page 9.

Bianca Figueroa-Santana, Assistant Director for Diversity Education, represented AIC on a panel discussion with her counterparts from Mt. Holyoke College and Springfield College.  Moderated by Traci Talbert,  President of the African American Female Professor Award Association, the theme of the panel was Polices, Systems, Linguistic Bias in Higher Education.  Panelist Kijua Sanders-McMurty mentioned the concept of "Freedom Dreams".  We researched the topic and discovered a book by Robin D. G. Kelley: Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination.  Students were thus inspired to create artworks portraying their own Freedom Dreams.

The Reflection, Freedom Dream by Taisha Jones, Cultivating Creativity

Friendship, Freedom Dream by Kayla Decaro, Digital Photography 1


Until I See You Again, Freedom Dream by Marissa Long, Cultivating Creativity

Planet of Variety, Freedom Dream by Michael Mendez, Cultivating Creativity

Imagined Book Cover for Freedom Dreams, by Natalia Santos, Graphic Design 1

LGBTQ, Freedom Dream by Eric Blase, Digital Photography 1

Art Show Flyer, Freedom Dream by Dinochca Rosado, Graphic Design 1



Sunday, May 29, 2022

Celebration of Learning: Graphic Design and Photography Capstone Portfolios!

Visual and Digital Arts Majors at American International College explore many modes of visual expression - photography, video, graphic design and fine art - as they refine their roles as artists and communicators.  By senior year, each student determines which professional path they want to pursue and, guided by a mentor, creates a capstone portfolio.  Please celebrate these culminating projects with us!

Construction Company Logo by VDA Major David Lopez

For my Capstone I wanted to focus on graphic design.  Throughout this year I have been focused on improving my abilities on various Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator.  The projects I have worked on this year I feel are a reflection of my progress and my improvement. During the pandemic I was not able to work with these programs because of remote learning. 

This year I have tried to work everyday on graphic design.  I worked hard designing flyers and logos for my internship, as well for my different courses. - David Lopez  

Social Media Post by VDA Major David Lopez


Natural Light Portrait by VDA Major Margarita Velazco Garcia

When it came to my Capstone, my overall goal was to create beautiful portraits.  With these portraits I wanted to show people’s personalities and create beautiful pictures to capture the audiences’ eyes. Another goal was to get the opportunity to learn how to be in different situations when it comes to photographing people.

I think that images should be able to tell a story and hopefully you can see one. - Margarita Velazco Garcia

Click to view Margarita's full portfolio.

Studio Lighting Portrait by VDA Major Margarita Velazco Garcia



Indoor Light Portrait by Photography Minor Megan Santiago


For my Capstone I wanted to focus on creating a portfolio, so I have something to show my work. In the beginning I looked at some work I have previously done and looked at the work of others to help determine exactly what type of pictures I wanted to take so I could focus and improve my skills with those types of images.

With the help of Professor Nordell, I determined I was most interested in portrait style images for events like senior portraits and/or small groups.  Throughout the semester I arranged multiple different mini photoshoots with friends and teammates to get more exposure as well as to test out new techniques.  I gained new techniques to help improve my final product, whether it be different equipment, use of photography principles, or through means of Photoshop.

Overall, my capstone was very helpful for improving my photography skills. - Megan Santiago


Environmental Portrait by Photography Minor Megan Santiago

An Evening of Song, Plus Reflections by Theater Majors on the Creative Process

The Theater Arts Program at American International College proudly presented: An Evening of Song,  student voice recital.  Theater Arts, along with the English, Communications and Visual & Digital Arts programs, comprise the Division of Communication and the Arts. Division Chair Professor Frank Borelli distilled the essence of our goals by stating, "we believe that each student is an artist and a communicator".   

Visual and Digital Arts Professor John Nordell photographed the Evening of Song.  As most of the performers had taken Nordell's art course Cultivating Creativity, he asked them to reflect on manifestations of the creative process found in both the visual and performing arts.

Angelee Diaz, soprano

Angelee wrote: When creating art you are throwing yourself and your opinions on a canvas, sketchbook, wall, etc.  Just as in theater and singing you're making yourself vulnerable to the audience and showing yourself or getting so deep into character it feels real.  The creative process for these two things are very similar.  Putting yourself out there and communicating what you are trying to represent or show is part of my process.  I want to show this, or I want this to represent that, because I feel a certain way towards this. These are things you try and think about when you start the process.  Trial and error is how we learn from the process too.  I've had countless art projects where things didn't go my way and I had to find a solution to fix it.  Just as in acting on stage when you forget a line or your blocking, you have to improvise and find a way to push through. It is frustrating at times but it's manageable.

Universe by Angelee Diaz
A brain in the center is surrounded by the roller coaster of life,
which is adorned with drawings of various modern world stressors.

Alexander Torres, tenor

Alexander wrote: In the fall of 2017, Puerto Rico was struck by a devastating hurricane.  Maria’s ravenous winds blew away our normalcy; the heavy rains washed away the foundation we stood on.  Our lives were forever changed by this catastrophe, but I was determined to rise from the rubble.  I always wanted to go to college in the USA and study theatre there, and AIC gave me the means to follow that path after the hurricane.  I now bear that pain front and center when I perform.  I use it to fuel my creative process, and I use the songs I chose for the recital as a way to express myself, and share my emotions with my audience, let them feel like I felt.  I think there’s value in sharing that experience indirectly through art.

Alexander Torres, tenor

Khamari Hamblin, bass

Khamari engaged in the first stage of the creative process by writing a project plan before starting his painting shown below:  My artwork will be with painting, which is really difficult for me to use, but why not? It will be using the colors of the American Flag and the color black. This is going to be MLK’s dream mixed with the American Dream.  It will have mixed feelings involved, too.

The Colorized Dreams by Khamari Hamblin 

Khamari Hamblin, bass

Dante Hayes, tenor

Moving to Space by Dante Hayes

Dante explains the creative process of making Moving to Space:


The performers salute accompanist Devon Louise Bakum

View From the Mound: How Baseball and Art are Connected

American International College Liberal Studies Major and Baseball Pitcher James "Jay" Chiappetta created a virtual museum showcasing Surrealism in Professor John Nordell's History of Art course.  Nordell, a professional photojournalist, photographed Jay in action. "I love to encounter the life of my students outside the classroom," says Nordell, "as it helps me deeply understand their passions."

Click to view Jay's Virtual Museum. Once the page has loaded, click the "i" icon in the upper left corner for tips on navigating the museum.

Jay describes the connections between art and baseball:


Throughout the semester I learned that art has the power to reach every aspect of life. It even has the power to reach competitive sports. I have played baseball my entire life and I have learned that there are some overlapping ideas within baseball and in art. For my Surrealism museum project I decided to record my curatorial statement in Spanish because there were many Hispanic artists that were very influential in making surrealism popular. This was definitely a risk for me because I am not a fluent Spanish speaker.

Risk taking is very common when it comes to creating art. It is also very common in the sport of baseball. I am a pitcher and when I decide to throw either my fastball, curveball, or changeup there is a risk that each pitch will get hit. I have to decide based on the batter what pitch I think will be most effective. 



Taking risks in art and in baseball can definitely be stressful but most of the time I find those types of risks to be worth it. 

Jay begins a Master's Degree this fall, continuing his preparation to become a teacher.  Due to pandemic disruptions, NCAA athletes like Jay were granted an extra year of eligibility. Make sure you catch Jay on the mound next spring!  

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Freedom of Expression Art Show Opening Reception

Please join us to celebrate beautiful and thought-provoking student art.

Art show opening reception 4/20/22 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Location: West Wing Gallery of the Karen Sprague Cultural Arts Center, 1000 State Street, Springfield, MA Refreshments will be served.

Student artists created visual representations depicting a variety of topics, ranging from intersectional environmentalism, to issues of migration, to concepts culled from Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's speech "I Have a Dream".


Culture in Bloom by Brandon Calhoun


Breaking the Bars of Silence with LOVE by Annekkia Ritter- Truxal


Even if I am Alone by Raisa Polyova


Art Show Flyer by David Lopez


American Dream by Daphne Rousselot


Foreshadowing Industrialization by Camarin Cook

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Creating Content for Community: Cardboard Ministries

Alexander Martinez chose Cardboard Ministries as topic for his Creating Content for Community assignment in Digital Photography 2. 


Alex describes the event as follows: This event was a long time in the making. This ministry as a whole was cancelled years ago and didn’t have plans of coming back. But God had different plans. We felt the move of God’s Spirit lead us into restarting this ministry to help those in need by giving them the message of hope.

The whole event was a success. We prepared the night before and several different posters with bright colors to grab people’s attention. 

All of us were eager to get started and were full of the Spirit of God; motivated and excited to make people’s day much brighter. We walked down to an intersection on State St. and started spreading our message.

Though some laughed, many were thankful and were touched by our message. A man approached us and said, “Thank you, it helps a lot.” This is when we knew this is what God had in mind all along

Monday, November 22, 2021

Express Yourself Art Show at AIC: The Culture of Art

Art show opening reception 12/1/21 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Location: West Wing Gallery of the Karen Sprague Cultural Arts Center, 1000 State Street, Springfield, MA Refreshments will be served.

The following curatorial statement was written by Jayden Renehan, an ART1000 History of Art student:

The West Wing Art Gallery at American International College showcases multiple pieces of student artwork that have multiple meanings. American International College is a very diverse college, so students need to be able to recognize different cultures and the importance of each culture’s history. Students produced many images based on the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King to further create more expression and interpretation into the culture. Another set of art is the Migration artwork done by students, who shared their feelings and definitions about migration and how it affects people’s lives. Art is made to express feelings and emotions about certain subjects. The art presented in the West Wing Gallery aims to educate and create more of a diverse community within American International College.

Photo by Ashley Lara, Digital Photography 1
In Dr. Martin Luther King's speech he brings up equality between races. In this image I tried to capture how thing still are not equal. This image was taken right on the border of Longmeadow and Springfield. To the left we have Longmeadow, a predominately white town, with smooth new roads. Meanwhile to the right we have Springfield which consists of mostly minorities, with the old busted roads.

Painting by Dinochca Rosado, Cultivating Creativity
Migrating Dreams

Rose McCaffrey, Digital Photography 1
I Have a Dream: Hallowed Spot

Artwork by Yamilet Paoli Rivera, Cultivating Creativity
I Have a Dream: When Will You Be Satisfied?

Artwork by Kalika Havili, Cultivating Creativity
I Have a Dream: A Helping Hand: A Hand for Justice

Photo by Max Nicolas, Digital Photography 1
I Have a Dream: "We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence". This photo shows how we can protest for our rights but, we shouldn't do it in a harmful way.