‘Inspiring Stories and Adventures’

By Christina Call (christina.call@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Jan. 30, 2014 | Modified: Jan. 30, 2014
‘Inspiring Stories and Adventures’

Mieszko Kwiatkowski stands with his piece, ‘Flaming Eye,’ at his Jan. 24 reception. The piece, he said, is inspired by ‘The Lord of the Rings.’

Photo by Christina Call

The Looking Glass Gallery at Appalachian State University presents “Inspiring Stories and Adventures,” an exhibition of the artwork of Mieszko Kwiatkowski.

Kwiatkowski is a senior at Appalachian and a student in the university’s Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program. SDAP students take classes at ASU in a two-year program that includes college courses, individualized instruction and the opportunity to participate in recreational and extracurricular activities.

The SDAP has allowed Kwiatkowski, who has Down syndrome, to take three semesters of art classes at ASU.

“Inspiring Stories and Adventures” showcases Kwiatkowski’s artistic variety through works ranging from those rendered with crayons and Sharpie markers to ceramic pieces and acrylic paintings.

Kwiatkowski’s bold and colorful works reflect a unique interpretation of inspirations. Through titles like “Savage Land” and “Flaming Eye,” viewers are given unique insights into the stories and ideas that inspire Kwiatkowski’s abstracted works.

Art has been a lifelong source of expression for Kwiatkowski, who has taken part in artwork since his elementary school years at Hardin Park. He continued his love of art at Watauga High School.

Kwiatkowski is currently in Gary Nemcosky’s art class, where he produced much of the work presented in the gallery. He also learned the skill of ceramics in Lynn Duryea’s class over the summer, with pieces of pottery also featured in the gallery.

There was a reception for Kwiatkowski’s exhibit on Jan. 24, with approximately 80 visitors passing through the gallery to see “Inspiring Stories and Adventures” and meet the artist.

“It’s been really fun to see Mieszko’s work and how much he loves art,” said Erin Taylor, Looking Glass curator. “I’m in class with him … and seeing how much he loves learning about and creating art is inspiring.”

Not only has Kwiatkowski had the opportunity to continue his love for art in SDAP, but he also has had the ability to put his love of sports toward an internship. He is currently an intern with the ASU softball team.

Kwiatkowski said he motivates the team, sets up the bases and helps the players with batting techniques. He added that he is very interested in sports and coaching and that the softball internship is a perfect way to get him prepared for his future.

According to Anna Ward, director of SDAP, the program has been a great way for Kwiatkowski to experience college by taking classes, experiencing an internship and making lifelong friends. SDAP scholars determine their academic, career, personal and social goals throughout their enrollment in the program.

“Overall, I’ve known Mieszko since he was a sophomore in high school,” Ward said. “I’ve really seen him grow in his time here at ASU. His art is one way to expand his ability to communicate and show his perspective to others.”

The exhibition will be on view at the Looking Glass Gallery, located on the first floor of the Plemmons Student Union on the Appalachian campus in Boone, through Feb. 5. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

For more information, visit http://www.lookingglassgallery.appstate.edu.

For more information about the Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program, visit http://www.sdap.appstate.edu.

Additional Images

Mieszko Kwiatkowski stands with his piece, ‘Flaming Eye,’ at his Jan. 24 reception. The piece, he said, is inspired by ‘The Lord of the Rings.’
Photo by Christina Call

Mieszko Kwiatkowski's artwork, including ceramic sculpture, is on display at the Looking Glass Gallery at ASU.
Photo by Christina Call

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