Professor's Art Celebrating History of Greenville News Commissioned by Greenville Hotel
Guests at Greenville’s newly-opened AC Hotel by Marriott can see an Anderson University art professor’s body of work prominently on display.
A group of paintings by Professor of Art Dr. Jo Carol Michell-Rogers of the South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University pays homage to the Greenville News, a newspaper that was published where the new hotel sits.
AC Hotel features original artists in all of their new hotels, and Dr. Mitchell-Rogers is thrilled to be among a select group of local artists to be included. AC Hotel worked in cooperation with the Metropolitan Arts Council in Greenville to select artists and commission their works. Dr. Mitchell-Rogers proposed three or four paintings. The hotel asked for nine.
“It blew me out of the water,” Dr. Mitchell-Rogers said.
Dr. Mitchell-Rogers’ paintings depict the history of newspaper publishing at the corner of Main and Broad streets, close to Falls Park and Greenville’s vibrant West End. The installation titled “Editions” tells the story of newsgathering step-by-step—reporting, writing, printing and reading. Dr. Mitchell-Rogers was enthralled by the newsgathering process and sees the art installation as a way of preserving an important era of news gathering and dissemination.
“There’s a type setter, a linotype operator, papers coming off the press, there’s a newspaper delivery boy,” she said.
Before putting brush to paper, Dr. Mitchell-Rogers conducted painstaking research, poring over numerous photos and talking to people who worked for the Greenville News, which continues to publish just around the corner from the hotel. She also credits the Greenville Historical Society and Greenville County Library for providing valuable resources and insight into the newspaper’s operations.
“At times, I manipulated the scenarios by combining images or altering the physical and emotional relationships among the figures. More frequently, I stayed true to the source photograph in order to depict the process with integrity, as well as to honor the figures laboring in anonymity,” she said.
Mitchell-Rogers, who has served on the AU faculty more than 30 years and has been part of the Greenville Arts Scene for many years, feels that it’s important for students to see their professors working as practicing artists and designers. She is a member of ArtBomb Studios and maintains an active exhibition record.
“One of the strengths of our program is that all of us maintain our professional work too. It serves as a good model to the students. It gives you license to practice what you preach,” she said.
Dr. Mitchell-Rogers’ art can be seen on her website at jocarol.net.