JCJC Art instructor selected as Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2015-10-14 22:06:40

 ELLISVILLE –Jones County Junior College art instructor, Mark Brown has been selected as the JCJC 2015 Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year.  He will be honored by the Mississippi Humanities Council on Wednesday, October 28, at 10:30 a.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium at JCJC. The public is welcome to see Brown's presentation, “The Modern Art Movement and the World Wars.”

Brow explained, “I plan to speak about modern artists after the turn of the century. In particular, I will focus on German Expressionist that fought for Germany during WWI. Without exception, they returned from their experiences very opposed to war. The other underlying aspect is that prior to WWI, Adolf Hitler was rejected from the art academies because his art was too realistic and traditional. Upon the surrender of Germany, Hitler immediately began blaming modern thinkers, writers and artist for what he perceived as treason.”
This subject is particularly important to Brown because of the impact Hitler’s actions has made on modern art.
“I chose this subject because it affected the art world forever. Current text books shed little light on what an impact it had on art,” said Brown. “I hope the audience will realize how deeply and seriously Hitler was concerned with swaying the public's opinion about modern art, music and culture in general. Additionally I hope they realize that museums are still trying to clean up his mess more than 70 years later!”
The Drawing, Design, Computers in Art, 3-D Design/Sculpture and Art Appreciation instructor has been teaching at JCJC for eight years. He earned his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Mississippi State and his Master’s in Art Education at the University of Southern Mississippi. He believes the best thing about being an artist is the versatile nature of expression.
“I chose to work in all media and all forms. That decision has enabled me to help students and it also allows for limitless possibilities and exploration through trial and error for my personal art,” said Brown. “Art helps us understand each other no matter if we agree or not with the intention of art.  I often tell students that I will help them understand the different forms and intentions of art.  It’s up to them to determine if they like it or not.”
Before his tenure at JCJC, Brown was the Curator of Education at Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel for eight years and he was a visual arts instructor for Stone County High School for two years. His colleague, Melanie Eubanks said she has seen Brown’s dedication to his students in helping them discover what kind of artists they want to be and how to succeed in the field.
“I'm glad that Mark received this honor.  He is dedicated to students and really wants to see them succeed,” said fellow JCJC art instructor, Melanie Eubanks.
The inspiration for some of his artwork and career is partially influenced by his family and his various “homes.” The son of a Commander and pilot for the U.S. Coast Guard, Brown moved from the northern most state of Alaska where he was born, to Miami, Florida where he was first introduced to art and artifacts at the King Tut exhibit. He landed in Mississippi after annual visits to his grandparent’s small farm in Lumberton. Brown said the challenges of moving has been a mixed blessing.
“I sometimes endured teachers that were not of the highest quality.  Moving frequently probably perpetuated the trend.  In a strange way however, I feel these negative experiences shaped my approach to teaching.  I am able to warn students of pitfalls I faced due to complacent instruction and I am conscious of my intent not to repeat bad practices,” admitted Brown.
The current Ellisville resident is an advisor for the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, a General Studies faculty adviser and a member of the Student Affairs Committee at JCJC. As an artist, Brown has shown his work in galleries across Mississippi and has been a part of several group exhibits including the Cotton District Juried Exhibition in Starkville where he has won 1st place in Sculpture in 2014, and a Purchase Award and Merit Award in 2015.  He has also won 1st place in Sculpture at the Day in the Park Art Festival in Laurel and has been commissioned by Sanderson Farms’ Corporate Office in Laurel and Oak Street Coffee and Tea in Laurel.
Brown quickly noted, “I am influenced by the strong family bonds and ‘sense of place’ I experienced while growing up, which is often reflected in my work.  My production level however, would be much less without my family’s support. None of this would be possible without the patience and encouragement from my wife Julie of 17 years, and our two children, Davis and Madden.” 


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