gavilan cabrillo college gilroy center for the arts ceramics exhibit
Ceramics students from Gavilan and Cabrillo colleges have filled their work inside the Gilroy Center for the Arts. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

Classes from Gavilan and Cabrillo colleges have joined forces to present a ceramics exhibit at the Gilroy Center for the Arts.

The exhibit runs through May at 7341 Monterey St. in downtown Gilroy, with a reception on May 19 from 5-8pm.

Students from the two colleges, as well as the Cabrillo Stroke and Disability Learning Center, crafted the works centered around the theme of plants, giving the downtown art center a feel of a botanical garden, including delicate flower arrangements, an eight-foot-tall corn stalk as well as a series of fictional vegetation, such as a “fire flower” from the “Super Mario Bros.” video game series.

Max Rain, who runs the sculpture, ceramics and 3D program at Gavilan, said the exhibit marks the first partnership between the two colleges’ art departments.

Rain said the exhibit’s roots stem to about a year ago when he ran into Cabrillo ceramics instructor Gail Ritchie at a market, who suggested the idea of a joint exhibit between the programs.

They quickly decided on the plant theme, knowing that the clay and plants are very much alike.

“Clay is so versatile as a medium, and plants are so versatile,” he said. “The two words we locked into very early on were ‘abundance’ and ‘versatility.’ If you go to a plant shop, you’re overwhelmed by the colors, textures and variety. I think we’ve got that.”

The installation was first presented in Davis at the California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Arts before it made its way to Gilroy.

Hanging on the walls surrounding the exhibit are artworks created by students from painting, drawing and photography classes at Gavilan.

Rain said he enjoyed the breadth of work showcased by students of all skill levels.

“My favorite thing about this show is the variety,” he said. “Even though there’s wildly different skill sets, when they’re all here, it’s a great equalizer, and you can appreciate everything.”

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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