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Faculty & Alumni Show Features Art Across Many Mediums

“What people don’t really talk about is, in the art world, it’s not just about the art. Community, connections, and who you know is everything,” Amelia Schomaker
Faculty & Alumni Show Features Art Across Many Mediums
Maura O’Connor, professor of graphic design and director of the Hans Weiss Newspace Gallery at CT State Manchester, talks about how the exhibit came together.

The journey of an artist is one of endless roads, pit stops and turn arounds across a long landscape of creative obstacles. But where that journey begins for an artist provides them with a foundation, a community from which they plant their roots and grow.

CT State Community College Manchester is home to a vibrant art department, and has been for many years, making it a melting pot from which dynamic artists emerge. The Faculty and Alumni Art show taking over the Hans Weiss Newspace Gallery at the end of the month, will feature the artwork of Manchester faculty and alumni alike.

I spoke to with two alumni of the campus whose “pit stops” at Manchester proved to be a pivotal point in their artistic journey. Adrian Martinez, who graduated in 2015, and Amelia Schomaker, who graduated in 2023, both recall building parts of themselves within the Manchester hallways, specifically in the art department.

Schomaker, who majored in graphic design, pointed to Maura O’Conner, who teaches graphic design and leads the two showplaces for art on campus, the Hans Weiss Newspace Gallery and the Adolf and Virginia Dehn Galleria, for her guidance.

“The professors are an amazing resource, and even now in my current job I still reference and use things I learned from my art-related classes,” said Schomaker.



Manchester graduate Amelia Shomaker is a tattoo artist at Lucky Soul Tattoo in Woodbridge.


Martinez credited retired photography professor Dan Long with giving him crucial direction.

“Manchester gave me the skills and confidence to believe in myself and my work,” said Martinez. “I left MCC wanting to learn as much as I could about my medium and seriously consider a career as a photographer and working artist.”

Today Martinez hosts a radio show at Yale University, where he eventually earned a master’s in fine art photography, in New Haven and has as expanded his work in photography across other artistic mediums, such as to filmmaking and being a DJ.

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Adrian Martinez stands in front of a video display charting his family’s history at Hartford’s Park Street Library, where some of his photos were featured in an exhibit in 2022. (Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant)

As for Schomaker, you can find her in Woodbridge at the Lucky Soul Tattoo Shop where she is working her “dream job” as a tattoo artist.

You can see some of the work by Martinez and Schomaker along with that of other Manchester graduates and those who taught them, including O’Connor, at the Faculty & Alumni Show 2024 from Feb. 29 to April 19. The opening reception will be held Thursday, Feb. 29, from 6-8 p.m. in the gallery on the first floor of the Arts, Sciences and Technology building. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the show or the gallery visit

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Molly Coleman, Staff Writer
Name: Molly Coleman Major: Liberal Arts And Science Pronouns: She/Her Club: ICE News What do you want to be when you grow up: When I grow up I want to be a licensed therapist with my own practice where I can help people, as well as myself, change perspectives and patterns in their everyday life, to allow them to live their life to a higher degree

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