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Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
(931) 393-1500

Artist Marc Burnett Visits Fayetteville

February 16, 2012

Motlow College recently hosted the first of four guests scheduled to appear in honor of Black History Month. Marc Burnett, artist and vice president of student affairs at Tennessee Technological University, displayed several of his paintings for students and members of the community to enjoy. Throughout the event he either spoke to crowds as they gathered or talked to individuals about his life and art.

As he told the story behind each painting displayed, Burnett encouraged everyone to use whatever talent God has given them and to not put your life in a box. His message was to live life to the fullest. He explained how one painting, "Touching the Hem" was more reflective about who he is as an artist, an educator and a man than any other he has done. He said, "I painted it during a dark period in my life after the car accident. It's about me reaching out to God. The reference to the hem is of course to Him."

Burnett was involved in a near fatal accident 13 years ago. A drunk driver hit him on the way home from work and he sustained many injuries including trauma to the head and both legs. It was during his convalescence that his God-given talent was brought to the forefront. He said before then, he had always doodled on paper but had never tried to do an actual painting or drawing.

While recuperating from the accident he attempted his first watercolor painting with a little child's set of paints given to him by friends. That little gift opened a floodgate of creativity. While he has dabbled with oil and acrylics, his preferred medium is still watercolor. He also displayed a series of sketches created with a No.2 pencil instead of charcoal. The images of Martin Luther King, Jr, Mother Teresa and Gandhi are just three of many he hopes to complete.

While enjoying the artwork, guests were treated to what was billed as a soul-food tasting. The tasting turned into a feast thanks to Debra Smith, assistant director for student services and Veronica King, administrative secretary at the Fayetteville Center. The history of the dishes served was explained by Brenda Cannon, director of student and campus relations for Motlow.

She said during the time of slavery, the better pieces of meat were reserved for the white people while the remaining parts were left to the creativity of the black cooks to make meals for their families. A sampling of chitterlings (chitlins), pig feet, neck bones and crackling cornbread was available for all to try as well as a plentiful supply of collard greens, sweet potatoes, pinto beans and fried chicken.

Visit the College website for additional information about Motlow and other guests visiting Motlow locations during Black History Month.