Cig Harvey, Artist in Residence

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By Donna Pinckley, Professor of Art, Photography »

DOnna Pinckley (left) with Cig Harvey (right).

I was honored to host my friend photographer Cig Harvey for the 2022 Artist in Residence (AIR). I have known of Cig’s work for about fifteen years but didn’t meet her until I took one of her workshops in New Orleans in 2015. I knew then I wanted my students to share this experience. Her residency was memorable because it was seven years in planning. There are so many people to thank who helped make sure Cig’s residency became a reality.

Projects of this caliber and scale are the result of the efforts of many people and funders who help make them possible. This project is no different and would not have been possible without the financial support of Student Arts Fees through the Artists in Residence (AiR) program administered by the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the Conway Visitors and Convention Bureau; the UCA Foundation; and the Department of Art and Design.  A project of this complexity also requires significant logistical support. To that end, we need to thank the following people: Baum Gallery Director Brian Young for writing the AiR application and driving to Maine to pick up the artwork, Associate Professor Scott Meador who provided technical support for the projection of Cig’s work in Estes Stadium, Director of Athletics Brad Teague, Athletics Director of Marketing and Promotion Kristen Oitker, and Higher Education Institution Program Coordinator for the Department of Art, and Design Robby Burton who assisted with the careful packing and unpacking of Cig’s artwork.

For six weeks we enjoyed forty-five of her breathtaking color photographs hanging in the Baum Gallery. When Cig was on campus, she worked both with photography and graphic design classes with her mind mapping process which includes writing exercises. Her effort resulted in the students having created a map to use when taking photographs for critique that followed a couple of days later! Cig gave thoughtful suggestions to students as the start for their final project in their digital photography class. For others it will be a project to consider for future classes.

Cig Harvey speaking to the BA/BFA students in the Baum Gallery.

Professional practice was the subject that Cig talked about in the BA/BFA classes she spoke to. It began as general conversation but soon turned into one-on-one exchanges as Cig answered each of the student’s questions. Most questions were about the B.A. Senior Exhibit since the exhibition panels were about to take place.. Cig also collaborated with Creative Writing Professor Sandy Longhorn’s Forms of Illustrated Narrative class where she talked about her process of working.

Cig Harvey with students and UCA Faculty viewing the projection screen at Estes Stadium, home to the UCA Bears football team.

Cig gave an informal talk in the gallery and a more formal lecture about her work in the evening. It was standing room only. She uses the power of the symbol and metaphor and works intuitively while crossing all subject matter to tell us stories about her work. I loved how she talked about her passion for photography and confided that she has been that way since she was thirteen. After the lecture, a shuttle was available to take guests to the UCA Stadium to see Cig’s images, motion pieces, and words projected on the UCA scoreboard. They looked amazing, so huge!

I was very pleased with how Cig’s residency turned out, especially the thoughtful questions asked by students — in both the talks and the workshops, to the standing room only attendance for her lectures. In my twenty-year tenure at UCA, this has definitely been one of my major highlights! My hope is that she leaves a lasting impression and work ethic for our students.