Pulaski Technical College's Business Technology Center is certainly the newest building on campus, and it also houses the college's finest art.
Works by local and nationally known artists can be found in the lobby and hallways of the two-story building, which houses all of the college's business-related programs, including accounting, management and supervision, office technology, entrepreneurship, paralegal technology, law enforcement studies and medical office technology.
The pairing of business and art isn't so unusual at Pulaski Tech. For the past six years, the Pulaski Technical College Foundation has hosted the annual Business of Art event, which includes live and silent art auctions, art demonstration and artist talks. A business person and a local artist are honored during the evening, and proceeds provide scholarships to business and art students. Much of the art adorning the walls of the center was donated by artists who are past honorees.
"We in the Business Technology Division are so excited about the artwork displayed in our building," said Christy M. Sherrill, dean of business. "We are grateful to the artists who have donated to PTC in the past and honored to display their work and give back to them as well."
Much of the artwork was installed last month in time was for the Business Technology Center's grand opening celebration. Many any off-campus visitors got their first glimpse inside the 20,405-square-foot center, which houses 10 multipurpose classrooms, conference and meeting rooms, faculty and staff offices, a student commons area and laboratories with the latest in instructional technology.
More artwork will be installed later this summer.
In the lobby, visitors can find three works by this year's art honoree, Pat Matthews, including a painting of an American flag, his signature art.
Matthews, a North Little Rock native, was working at his architectural design firm in Little Rock on the morning he heard the news of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Unable to find or buy a flag to display his pride in America, Pat went home, picked up a paint brush, painted over a landscape he had been working on, and produced his first American flag, a subject that has since become his signature work. His flag art now sell for hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.
Matthews is also one of the nation's premiere landscape artists, and two examples of his landscape work are featured in the lobby, including an oversized painting of cypress trees reflected in water.
Suspended from the upper-level of the center is an oversized, silver metallic necktie sculpture by Kevin Cole, the 2007 art honoree at the college's first Business of Art event. Along an interior wall is a trio of brightly colored glass bowls - the work of James Hayes, a Pine Bluff glassblower and artist, who was the 2008 art honoree.
Others works include a painting by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial cartoonist John Deering, a versatile artist experienced in painting, cartooning and sculpture. A painting by 2009 honoree Robin Steves hangs in the Tom Steves Sr. Community Room, named in honor of Robin's late husband.
Many more works by local artists can be found along the hallways, including pieces by Tracee Gentry, Amy Hill Imler, Theresa Cates, Robyn Horn and Chad Young, one of the architects for the Business Technology Center.
The college broke ground on the center on April 3, 2009, and the project was completed earlier this year in time for spring classes.