Homecoming 2012 Artist Feature - Mike Fell

Homecoming 2012 will feature the work of 4 talented Southwestern College artists.  Beginning on Thursday, October 11, the President's Gallery in Darbeth Fine Arts Center will feature artwork by three talented Moundbuilders from the class of 1977:  Mike Fell, Lynn (Watkins) Felts, and Sulinda (Baker) Fogle.  The display will be open from Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon, October 14.  Artwork by Jim Borger '82 that integrates still life and the natural world will be exhibited in Pounds Lounge in the Roy L. Smith Student Center throughout the weekend.  Watch this website for bios on all four of these talented artists.

Mike Fell '77

After graduating from SC as co-valedictorian with his mother Ardith Fell in 1977, and degrees in Biology and Art, Mike came back to SC for one more year to finish his teacher certification requirements and immediately started teaching art at the Winfield Middle School in the fall of 1978.  For the next 27 years he would teach a variety of subjects from the 6th through the 12th grade in the areas of art, science, social science, and English and coach a variety of sports while at the middle school level.  While teaching Biology at Winfield High School, Mike served as an officer in the Kansas Biology Teachers Association and was an active participant in the annual KATS camp for science teachers, which is where he met his wife Ann  who was teaching Earth science at Winfield High School at the time.  Since then, they have raised four children: twin sons Ryan and Brandon, daughters Phoebe, and Elynne who graduated from Southwestern with a degree in Biology in 2011.

Since fall of 2003, Mike has been working as an art instructor at Cowley Community College where his emphasis has been the 3-dimensional arts of Ceramics and Sculpture.   He currently specializes in stone, clay, and metal sculpture and has received several awards in juried competitions such as Winfield’s Art in the Park, the Smokey Hill Art Show in Hays, KS and the Arts Incubator in Kansas City, KS.  He has also served as an Arts judge in a variety of local art competitions including the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival, Winfield Art in the Park, and the Arkansas City Prairie Fest.

Fell’s works blend his love of nature and natural forms and his reverence for life and its multiple expressions.  From simple abstract forms whose flowing shapes and contrasting textures invite a person to touch, to the intricate details of the human face, Fell’s works blend reality and imagination in a manner which invites the viewer to stop and participate in the experience. 

“I am both a teacher and a student.  I enjoy learning from my students as well as sharing what I know with them.  Together we both grow.” “Creating art helps me to connect the reality and spirituality (essence) of what I see around me.  It allows me to go beyond replication and truly create images which exist only in the mind’s eye.” “Helping my students to create their own visual expressions of the world in which they live is, for me, what teaching is all about.”

When not teaching or creating art, Mike farms and gardens on 60 acres north of Winfield where he built his own passive solar earth sheltered home complete with wind generator, solar-electric panels and geothermal heat pump.  His latest project is the refurbishing of an 1880’s vintage building at 1001 Main Street in downtown Winfield into an Art Gallery/ Studios and classroom.  Opening in October, Gallery 1001 (Ten-O-One) will be home to the local artists cooperative and will showcase their artwork as well as the works of guest and student artists.  Classes will be offered in various media and the gallery will host other creative events such as music performances, readings and writers workshops.  Eventually the upstairs of the building will be home to a community meeting room/arts library, artist studios, and a ceramics studio.

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