Borough of Manhattan Community College Celebrates African Heritage Month with Art Opening

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Today, February 17, Borough of Manhattan Community College celebrates African Heritage Month 2010 with an Art Gallery Opening, 3:00 to 5:30 p.m., in the Theater 1 Breezeway at the College’s main campus, 199 Chambers Street.

Sheldon Porter BMCC student and artist

I want to look back and feel that I did everything I could in my life. BMCC is helping me get there.

Today, February 17, Borough of Manhattan Community College celebrates African Heritage Month 2010 with an Art Gallery Opening, 3:00 to 5:30 p.m., in the Theater 1 Breezeway at the College’s main campus, 199 Chambers Street.

The opening will feature the work of BMCC student and illustrator Sheldon Porter, who also created a poster for the month’s events—an adaptation of Mount Rushmore, featuring historical and political leaders Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, and Malcolm X.

The theme of this year’s African Heritage Month events, “Standing on a Solid Foundation,” invites the BMCC community to reflect on the groundwork they’re putting in place, as they focus their dreams through academic majors in over 27 fields.

Though his art stands strong today, Sheldon Porter didn’t always feel as confident in his ability to tell stories with images, as well as words. After graduating from New York’s High School of Art & Design, he held what he describes as “stepping-stone jobs” over the next couple decades.

“I was never able to support myself through my art,” he recalls. “I’d see coworkers going to college, but never felt that I could afford to invest that much time myself.” Overcoming a concern that his age—he’s in his mid-forties—would be counted against him, Porter enrolled as a Writing and Literature major at BMCC, and was heartened by the support he received from students as well as faculty who “make it clear that if you take your studies seriously, they’ll respond in kind.”

With a 4.0 GPA and on track to graduate in 2010, Porter has reason to celebrate the heritage he's creating not just for himself, and his young daughter—but for students facing a different world of economic challenges, than when he was starting out. “I want to look back and feel that I did everything I could in my life,” he says. “BMCC is helping me get there.”

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) enrolls over 22,000 degree-seeking and 10,000 Continuing Education students a year. The largest community college in The City University of New York (CUNY) system, BMCC has students from more than 155 countries, and awards associates degrees in over 27 fields.

Contact:
Lynn McGee                    
212-346-8501
Lmcgee (at) bmcc.cuny (dot) edu

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