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Works by artist Joan Grey Smith featured in NIC Corner Gallery exhibit

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Artist Joan Grey Smith. Monotype. 24 x 18 inches. Artist Joan Grey Smith. Monotype. 24 x 18 inches.

Grass is the inspiration behind Joan Grey Smith's artwork displayed in the North Idaho College exhibit "Grass Roots" March 1-26.

Coeur d’Alene artist Joan Grey Smith is inspired by the grass that covers the Earth, which she describes as so ordinary yet primary to the existence of the world. Her prints and pastels on this subject will be featured in an exhibit titled “Grass Roots” on display March 1-26 in the North Idaho College Boswell Hall Corner Gallery.

“What fascinates me is the quality of light on grass in all the seasons and times of day,” Smith said. “From the delicate morning light to the brilliant midday sun that reduces blades of grass to pastel shades to the intense afternoon light that creates deep shadows amid saturated colors—this interplay of light, color and grass always evokes an emotional response in me.”

Smith primarily uses a printmaking process called monotype, which literally means “one of a kind.” It is a unique process that allows her to use a combination of painting, drawing and printmaking techniques to create an image that cannot be replicated.

The artwork in this exhibit depicts not only the beauty of grass and other flora, but their importance to the comfort, well-being and sustainability of the Earth.

“Equal to the beauty of grass is my response to the treasures that lie on the ground we walk on; the fallen Ponderosa needles, curled up locust tree pods and leaves that have left their skeletons behind,” Smith said. “The interplay of branches, leaves and grass is a feast for my senses.”

Smith holds a master’s degree in art and education from Gonzaga University. She served as a printmaking instructor at North Idaho College from 2002 to 2009 and has taught at Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University and Spokane Art School. She has also led various workshops at NIC and at Spokane public schools.

She created a commissioned mosaic tile floor design for St. Aloysius Parish on the Gonzaga University campus as well as stained glass windows for Marlatt Funeral Home in Kent, Wash., and St. Peters Parish in Spokane.

Her work has been exhibited at the Pratt Manhattan Center Gallery in New York, the Cheney Cowles Museum and the Chase Gallery in Spokane.

The opening reception for the “Grass Roots” exhibit will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 2 in the gallery. A gallery walk with the artist will be held at 10:30 a.m. March 2 followed by a PowerPoint and lecture presentation at 1 p.m. in Boswell Hall Room 102.

Boswell Hall Corner Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.

Information: (208) 769-3276.

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Stacy Hudson is the Public Information Coordinator for North Idaho College

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