Artists display culture through exhibits at Fine Arts building

Editor’s note:

The authors for this story are eight students from COMM 2311 News Writing.  They wrote this story as a group during class and tackled tough areas such as how to write a lead, what direct versus indirect quotes to use, how to organize information, and how to end a story.   Student names are:  Kenzie Bequette, Angel Flores, Karina Gonzalez, Alyssa Guevara, Esosa Iyengunmwena, Morgan Minnick, Eymi Reyes, and Daniela Villa.  The photos that illustrate this story were taken by students in COMM 1316 News Photography 1 and COMM 1318 Photography 1.   

        What do yellow plastic hair rollers and glazed clay pots have in common?    On the face of it, nothing.  But they are both big parts of the two new art exhibits now on display in the South Plains College Fine Arts building.

     One of the exhibits is called “B.A.P.S. (Black American Princesses)” by artist Danielle Demetria East.  The other exhibit is called “East & West” by artist Dexter Woods.  Both went on display last week and both are housed in the Fine Arts building on the Levelland campus.

     Upon entering the Fine Arts building, one might not immediately notice the B.AP.S. exhibit.  It stretches down a long hall of music and art classrooms.  It’s at least 30 feet long, and it’s behind a wall of glass.

     This exhibit includes several unusual items such as hair rollers, magazines, and a big collage with photographs and graffiti words covered in pink plastic vinyl.

     East includes a typewritten explanation of the items as part of the exhibit itself.  In it, she says that as a queer Black woman and an artist she is influenced by Black pop culture, women’s experiences, and cultural identities of her upbringing.

     She says she used the pink plastic vinyl because her grandmother placed this type of material on her table on top of her tablecloth.  East says she would only remove it on holidays.

  “It’s a symbol of protection, respect for the things you have and how my grandma did not neglect even the [most mundane] of things,” East said. “Her tablecloths were spiritual relics that symbolize family, community, and femininity.”

     Other unusual items in East’s exhibit have to do with hair.

     “I also use the hair dryer, small table, and magazines to reflect how Black beauty shots and hair are so important to my culture,” East said.  “Hair is unique, versatile, and a symbol of strength in the Black community.”

     A few steps away from the hall gallery, where East’s exhibit lives, is Dexter Woods’ “East & West,” which is just inside the Fine Arts Gallery doors.   His exhibit includes 30 or so pieces of glazed pottery. 

     Some of Woods’ pieces are small and sit together on shelves.  Others are large and either hang on the wall or sit by themselves on pedestals.  All have different titles and glaze colors.

     “The first time I touched clay, it did exactly what I wanted it to do,” Woods said. “I realized the limitlessness of the medium.”

     Exactly what Woods wanted to do in the “East & West” exhibit is not necessarily obvious from the exhibit’s title.

     “The exhibit is called East & West because it is a marriage of my experiences moving to Phoenix, Ariz. back to Lubbock, Texas,” Woods said via email to reporters with the Texan Mosaic.

     Some of the pieces, he says, are reminiscent of Arizona landscapes and mountain slopes. 

“The glaze application on the large jars are my Texas roots to graffiti tagging in youth,” he said.

     Even though both solo exhibits appear to be so different, in a way, they have much in common.  Both artists are sharing their own personal past and present in their own way–through their own choice of media.

     Kristy Kristinek, SPC assistant professor of fine arts and the SPC gallery director, said she selected both artists for the gallery due to their fantastic work ethic and their roles in the community. 

     Dexter Woods is a Texas Tech University alumnus and is currently an instructor at the Clay Studio at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts. For more information, go online to

     Danielle Demetria East and a host of volunteers founded the East Lubbock Art House. According to their website, East moved to Lubbock in 2019 to complete work as one of the four artists-in-residence at the Charles Adams Studio Project.

     “Both artists strive for a successful environment in their professional areas and provide the community with a place to do that,” Kristinek said.

     Both art exhibits will remain on display in the SPC Fine Arts Gallery through October 7.  The gallery can be viewed during campus visiting hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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