WT Graduate Student’s Art Exhibition Shows ‘Nomadic’ Journey Through Space, Time

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CANYON, Texas — After careers as a working actress and a teacher of English, speech, theater and art, West Texas A&M University graduate student Marcia Tippit knows a thing or two about long voyages.

“Life is a journey, and I’ve had kind of a wild one,” Tippit said.

That long and winding road inspired Tippit’s new exhibition of abstract drawings and paintings, “Nomadic Navigations,” which will hang Nov. 3 to 30 in the Dord Fitz Formal Gallery in Mary Moody Northen Hall. An opening reception is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 3.

After retiring as a teacher in Albuquerque, Tippit decided to pursue a master’s in fine arts through the WT Graduate School; the exhibition is the culmination of her studies in the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities, and she’ll graduate in December.

“I was a performer and a director and did a little film and television work, but that career is not very age-friendly when you’re a performer,” Tippit said. “I taught everything from kindergarten through the college level, but I needed to retire so I could start doing art.”

She chose WT because she was looking for a major change.

“I’ve lived in big cities, so I was looking for something smaller and with a lower crime rate,” Tippit said. “I was delighted when I got here in 2020 and the first week I was on campus, I saw that WT is one of the 10 safest schools in the country and the safest in Texas.”

Being in the backyard of Palo Duro Canyon doesn’t hurt either.

“I have an annual pass to the canyon, and you can definitely see that it shows up in some of my work,” she said.

“Nomadic Navigations” shows Tippit’s interest in landscapes and the passage of time, but it also has a spiritual element.

“I explore the idea that people are spiritual beings having a human experience, rather than human beings having a spiritual experience,” she said. “I’m more interested in the commonalities we have as humans rather than the things that divide us.”

Tippit is “one of the most prolific artists we had in our MFA program,” said Jon Revett, art program director and Doris Alexander Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts.

“She often would bring double the amount of work to the critique than any of her colleagues. This immense amount of production led to her abstract paintings and drawings addressing a myriad of subjects, from memories and time to the landscape and fossils,” Revett said. “Her work is proof that while a picture says a thousand words, a painting can say a million.”

Fitz Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and by appointment Fridays and Saturdays. Email [email protected].

Fostering an appreciation of the arts is a key component of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $110 million.

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