11:00 am - 12:30 pm


Mountain Empire Community College Wampler Library
3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, VA, 24219

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On display in the Slemp Gallery are the paintings of renowned artist Jeff Chapman Crane.  Jeff Chapman-Crane is a full-time professional artist from the southern Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky, where he has lived and practiced his art for the last 27 years.  His art focuses on the culture of Appalachia, with an emphasis on portraits of mountain people. He has been painting for over 35 years since being challenged and inspired by his high school art teacher, Don Hilton.  Following the tenets of the American Society of Classical Realism, Jeff’s work encompasses the highest principles of traditional representational art – fine drawing, balanced design, harmonious color and skillful craftsmanship.  While not in the stylized realism of American Regionalism, his work shares a strong identification with a particular region – conveying geographic features of the land and unique human, cultural and social characteristics. 


The ceiling of the Slemp Gallery is adorned with Origami Stars made by students from Jenkins Middle High School in Jenkins, Kentucky. Together with their teacher Luann Vermillion, they created the stars in their high school art classes while studying the Japanese art of paper folding and tried a variety of paper types as they practiced folding different shapes. The final effect is a canopy of glittering origami stars floating above the lights and paintings. These students will be attending the reception tomorrow and joining us for lunch and a tour of the campus.


Also featured in the library display is a quilt by Bertha Brock Napier. Ms. Napier passed this life on April 25, 2023, at the age of 92. She learned at a very young age how to provide for her family. She was only seven years old when her mother passed away leaving behind eight children. Bertha grew to love quilting at a young age and made many quilts for her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends. She spent many hours using her fingers to sew stitches as her heart and soul sewed prayers and praises into heaven.  It brought her much joy to provide a warm quilt for someone and her quilts never came with a price tag, only given with a heart full of love. Ms. Napier is the mother of MECC’s Executive Assistant for the President Peggy Gibson.