UCF faculty showcase unknown talents at Hidden Artists exhibit 

People observing and discussing Hidden Artists' work. Hidden Artists Reception at John C. Hitt Library Sept. 21, 2017. Photo by Elisa Ramirez

UCF faculty members showcased their art at the Hidden Artists exhibition at the John C. Hitt Library Thursday afternoon.

More than 30 people meandered about the exhibit in Room 223 of the library, nibbling on finger foods as guitarist Aaron Lingle Bach played in the background.

The purpose of the event was to allow creative people who may not be full-time artists to present their work to the UCF community.

Although many of the artists have not pursued art as their main career, that hasn’t stopped them from pursing it in their free time.

One artist said money played a big role as to why they did not continue art as a source of income.

Hidden Artist and ’09 UCF alumnus Chris Saclolo said he decided to work in the library’s Special Collections and University Archives for financial stability. The 32 year old majored in studio art during his time at UCF and received his master’s in interdisciplinary book and paper art at Columbia College Chicago in 2010.

“At the time, I was really focused on having an art career,” Saclolo said.

Jacqui Johnson had a similar experience. The 63-year-old senior cataloger technical assistant at UCF had initially wanted to go into a more creative field.

“I couldn’t afford it,” Johnson said.”It was the 70s and you had to get a scholarship to get into the best art schools in New York, and the competition there is really, really hard.  

“You can’t eat your crayons, you have to work for the crayons.” 

Art work by Jacqui Johnson. Hidden Artists Reception at John C. Hitt Library Sept 21, 2017. Photo by Elisa Ramirez.

Paul Viau, an associate university registrar at UCF, had his photographs of still life and buildings displayed in the library. He received his doctoral degree in higher education policy at UCF and started working for the school 20 years ago, he said. When he was younger and expressed interest in being an artist, people often scoffed.

“You need a real job. How about business? How about teaching?,” he recalled them saying.

Judy Bragg Pardo, senior art specialist at UCF’s Student Development and Enrollment Services, organized the event and created the Hidden Artists exhibit in 2008. Pardo has since coordinated nine exhibitions in the library, according to the Hidden Artists website.

“This is something I wanted to do for faculty and staff,” Pardo said. “People do things on their own time.

“When I first started this, there were a lot of artists who had never displayed artwork, so it was a real step forward for them because you’re sharing a part of you.”

The exhibit will display art from Maribel Amaro-Garcia, Gina Clifton, Pamela Williams Gruen, Jacqui Johnson, Simona Loh, Russ Muller, Fiona Murphy, Judy Bragg Pardo, Brian Pate, Christopher Saclolo, M.C. Santana and Paul Viau until Sept 29.