Some thought-provoking ideas of “Distances”, the theme of the virtual faculty Art show.

What does it mean? Most likely it means something different to each of us. One thing is clear, however, there is a marked difference AND distance in the way we live today from just a year ago. We must maintain “Social Distance”, This has created distances in our relationships, and even our perspective on the world around us. “Distances” refers to linear and space, dynamic and static, rhythm and beat.

To me, Distances is real and ethereal at the same time. A line drawn with pencil (or brush) is both physical and captures a framed moment in time. The next line then lays upon the former and captures a second and overlaying frame of time. The two lines are then joined by a third and fourth and a texture is created. By the time the drawing (or painting) is completed the first lines or brush strokes are ‘buried deep within the time and physical body of the work, yet have helped form the structure of the overall work and the distance in time from the initial marks to the finished piece may have taken days or weeks. The creation involved both the physical skillset and the creative and imaginative time/space/experience that contained the production of the work. Distances past present future. An artwork can have the illusion of spatial depth, space, distance as can an artfully penned poem or story.

Another thought: Straight line distance from Philadelphia, PA to Beijing, China is 6,824 miles. Two hundred years ago the trip would have taken weeks while today the trip is only a matter of a few days or even hours depending on mode of travel. Then there is memory and distance, have you ever said “When I think back…” the farther back in time we go the greater the distance in memory.

Now we have “Virtual Reality”. Is this an alternate world? How far away is it? Is the Virtual Gallery real? How does it exist in time or is it there only when you/me/we are viewing it?

What are your thoughts? Express them in the Cheyney University Virtual Art Gallery.

Professor Joel T. Keener



During the months of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, a beloved family member that lived with us passed away. My deep sadness and feelings of loss allowed me to wander within thinking about life and the distances we all travel on our human journey. Observing nature, in particular birds, I wondered what they thought of their new view of humans who now wear masks and remain mostly indoors. Bird survival; eating, drinking, finding shelter, mating, parenting, all seem to resemble the human basic needs for survival. Are we so different from birds? Natural ebb and flow of life seems effortless for the birds; resistance to the natural order of life seems pervasive in humans. Seeking beauty may foster our survival.


Artist Statement

I enjoy making art that is inspired by mythology, folklore, and a feeling that there is magic in the world. I enjoy making art by hand – painting, drawing – in response to our technological age. I do believe that art can save the world.

Artist Statement

Professor Kia Hayes, English Composition and Literature Instructor, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania:

With research interests in both ecocriticism and the environmental humanities, I seek to create visual narratives of landscapes that have been shaped and influenced by the rich and diverse cultural expressions of African Americans. More specifically, I want to visually document how African American communities define, embody, honor and interpret the “natural world” in public/shared spaces within communities that have become
increasingly gentrified.

In the creation of my images, I am greatly influenced and inspired by the botanical work of the 19th-century artist, self-taught geologist, Sarah Mapps Douglass (teacher at the Institute for Colored Youth/Cheyney University), the landscape paintings of Edward Bannister, the nature poetry of Anne Bethel Spencer, and the ecocriticism and literature of Dr. Carolyn Finney and Lauret Savoy.

The digital images for this exhibition were taken in different locations throughout Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 2013 – 2018. Included are images of the following:

-Octavius V. Catto Statue, Center City Philadelphia (City Hall)

– A young horse rider with his horse, ‘Midnight’, North Philadelphia (Hunting Park

– Black Swallowtail Butterfly, West Philadelphia (Powelton Village)

-The Two Swans, Penn’s Landing, Olde City, Philadelphia, PA

Artist Statement

I am a contemporary abstract-realist with a traditional background. My inspiration comes from the natural world and draw from it as expressed in my art. Drawings that appear abstract are journeys in texture. Good composition is everything in my work.

Drawing is my passion, the pencil, paper, eraser, and the journey. The journey of the first mark to the last mark. I draw loosely, especially in the beginning letting the energy of the line express movement, force, strength, beauty. As a drawing develops in line, shape, tones it will suggest possibilities of what it might become, a landscape, a fantasy landscape, figures, dragons, castles, always a mood, sometimes with a slice of humor. I am not necessarily the driver on the journey, sometimes I am just along for the ride.

When I begin a drawing, I clear my mind and let the physical action of mark making express my emotions, there is rarely argument between me and the drawing, sometimes debate and sometimes utter failure. I read somewhere recently “I either win or learn, I never lose.”

Artist Statement

Hello, my name is Professor David Slivka.

David Slivka loves to create graphic design. David Slivka is inspired by many graphic designers like Milton Glaser, Saul Bass, Stefan Sagmeister, and many others. But Paul Rand is David’s favorite graphic designer, he loves the simplicity and clarity of Rand’s work. David’s often tries to emulate Rand’s style through his own work.

David finds graphic design a passion of his that’s very therapeutic. It enables him to escape to a secret world where he spends countless hours trying to perfect his craft.

David believes inspiration is the key to creativity, in order to become inspired David observes the world around him whether it’s an everyday object, event, colors, textures, shapes, patterns all which will play the part in the problem-solving process. David’s process usually involves a lot of time, countless mistakes, numerous critiques until the work gets to where he thinks it needs to be.

The problem-solving process can be frustrating at times but in the end if he accomplishes what he sets out to do it’s extremely gratifying. That’s why he still loves graphic design, it’s a process that presents challenges that enable him to grow creatively and become a better designer as he moves forward.