College prof to design new abstract art class


Nikko Maresca

Art professor Lindsay McCulloch used her sabbatical last semester to design a new abstract art class for the college and create nine original paintings.

Coleman Guthrie, Reporter

An AACC art professor conducted research during her spring 2018 sabbatical to create a new abstract art class for students next fall.

Lindsay McCulloch, a full-time art professor at the college since 2010, said she came up with the idea for the class while on a semester-long sabbatical. AACC allows some faculty members to take a one-semester break from teaching—called a sabbatical—to do research, finish graduate school, travel or do other work that will lead to improved teaching.

“I’ve come back from this semester thinking about things in a new way; just a new perspective about art-making and teaching,” McCulloch said. “All of that goes back into the class.”

“[Sabbaticals] let the teacher have more knowledge and allow students to learn new things,” third-year paralegal student Perla Cordero-Toledo said.

During her time off, McCulloch created a nine-piece collection of oil paintings that she said reflects her personal thoughts and memories in an abstract way.

McCulloch said she enjoyed experimenting with abstraction so much that she wanted to offer the techniques to interested students in a new credit class.

In the class, which McCulloch said she hopes to teach in fall 2019, students will learn about the style of other abstract artists, the concepts and theories behind their work, and how to develop a personalized painting style.

First-year art student Woody Townshend said he would take McCulloch’s class, because “[it] stretches the mind.”

“[Abstract art] is something I could sink my teeth into … something to get my brain juices flowing.”

“[We are] looking at history of abstraction,  particularly as it relates to painting, then looking at all these sort of offshoots of abstractions … performative type painting,” McCulloch said. “We will look at the different [media] forms and will do projects based on it.”

In addition to creating a new class during her sabbatical, McCulloch published her own art catalogue, titled “Without Boundaries,” which includes close-up views and details about each of the paintings in her collection.

Students can see one of the paintings, “Lessons in Risk and Reward,” in the Cade art gallery on West Campus.

McCulloch said the shape of a crashed Wright brothers’ airplane inspired the border of this piece, which she said is about solving problems through failure.

The American Poetry Museum will feature some of her work from sabbatical starting Nov. 4, as will the Linda Matney Gallery in Virginia in early December.

“If people are interested in learning more about painting or abstraction, the abstract painting class is going to be phenomenal,” McCulloch said. It will be “a fun way to study painting conceptually and apply lots of different processes to get your own creative vision.”