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About the A Thousand Words Series

Each year, the Gallery at CCBC Essex is teaming up with the English Department to help inspire visual and writing artists alike to create new work. The exhibition series “A Thousand Words” focuses on the use of text within artwork. Each artist incorporates words into their work, exploring their meaning, the beauty inherent in the shape of each letter, and what it means to communicate.


While all the artwork must showcase words or letters in some way, each year a new curator puts their own twist into the exhibition.   Some  curate  with an eye to artwork that explores a 


similar topic, while others may tie the artists together with the media they all use in common. During the exhibition we will be collecting submissions of written works inspired by the artwork in the show. A jury will then go through the submissions and choose the best pieces to be featured in a literary magazine that will be designed by our graphic design students. We’ll celebrate the works with a Reading Night held in the Gallery.

Curator's Statement

The artists and works in ‘A Thousand Words’ bring about a reflective, compassionate, and sometimes magical response in me. I find them captivating in terms of their commentary on our past, and the way they speak to our current relations.

Many of the works reference our history  as  a  nation and our humanitarianism. Given recent political and social events these artists resonated with me as they provide outright or subtle insight on human history and politics. When we reflect on the past it often brings clarity to the present. Or, it can make us cringe and debate our choices as a people. Many of these works made me either question our nation’s choices, or reflect with awe and  admiration at humanity. We can be such a  loving culture and yet sometimes blind to our actions.

I hope you will walk away with questions of patriotism or psychology, as well as consideration of kindheartedness and empathy.

- Curator Deborah Cicarrelli

Art and Writings

Artist: Nicoletta de la Brown

Writer: Ann Coffey

FIRST AID by Ann Coffey was inspired by the artwork Spiritual First Aid Kits by Nicoletta de la Brown. 


Artist: Sally Comport

Writer: Napri Carrol

Silver Pearls by Napri Carrol was inspired by the artwork Ada's Violin by Sally Comport.


Artist: Kei Ito

Writer: Tima Aflitunov

What We Share as Children of Earth by Tima Aflitunov was inspired by the artwork Only What We Can Carry by Kei Ito. 


Artist: Amanda Burnham

Writer: Jessica McKinney

Uprooted by Jessica McKinney was inspired by the artwork Stop by Amanda Burnham.

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Artist: Sally Comport

Writer: Mike Opdyke

Inspired to Help by Mike Opdyke was inspired by the artwork When Innocent People Are Hurt, Others Are Inspired to Help by Sally Comport.


Artist: Jenee Mateer

Writer: Tabitha Kerchner

In a world full of animals, I am an alien by Tabitha Kerchner was inspired by the artwork The Animals by Jenee Mateer. 

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