Lubbock Christian University recently added new talent to its art department. Associate Professor Ronelle Howell is now leading the Art Department and its programs in art education, painting and drawing, and graphic design. She is a 1984 graduate, with a bachelor degree in Art and graduate degrees in Art as well.
Ronelle has received an outstanding number of recognitions and awards throughout her career including being named LCU Art Alumnus of the year in 2015. She also has numerous distinctions and awards from the Texas Art Education Association, receiving the Outstanding Art Teacher of the Year award in 2007.
You can get a look at Ronelle’s artistic style currently in the exhibit space on campus in the Center for Academic Achievement building. Ronelle states in her piece, “So, the Conversation Continues…” that she was a productive, thriving art student at Stellenbosch University, which is in a village not far from Cape Town, South Africa. This is when her association with Lubbock Christian began. She had been writing letters to long-time LCU administrator John King, who is now senior VP of University Relations. If it had not been for these letters, Ronelle says, she would not have come to Lubbock.
So why leave a village in South Africa to come to Lubbock, Texas? The two places are completely different; one is filled with breathtaking Cape Peninsula land and seascapes while the other is filled with farmland and dust storms. Ronelle asked herself the same question. She said it was the spiritual draw that was too compelling to resist. Then she elaborated on other questions about her deep connection to LCU.
Duster: How have you enjoyed working here?
Ronnelle: I love working at LCU! I have had a long association with this University, starting in 1980 when applying to the school and prayerfully discovering solutions to the challenges that come with being an international student. Adjusting to campus culture, schedules and the creative environment and momentum of the art department is not very different from when I came here as a student. The mission and vision for the university keeps growing in scope and it is great to see the art department progressing in tandem.
Duster: You recently had a welcome reception and exhibit of your art in the LCU Library. How did it feel to have faculty and staff come out to recognize your work?
Ronelle: I was deeply humbled by such a lovely turnout, the welcome extended to me and the very loving feeling of support. People took time out of their very busy and demanding schedules to stop by, which I appreciate very much. It was equally meaningful to have the opportunity to share my work.
Duster: What courses are you currently teaching?
Ronelle: Studio courses in 3-D Design, Sculpture, Painting [I and II] and a research course for individual studio practice. In the fall I taught two Art History courses, Printmaking, and 3-D Design. I also manage the art galleries in the Art Studio and CAA building. Having a professional space to showcase art is a tremendous boon to the university and the art program. The Alumni Exhibit is currently open for viewing and will be up until Spring Break. We are looking forward to Dr. Sam Ayers sharing his artwork with the campus immediately after Spring Break. The galleries are open from 7:30 a.m. till 6 p.m. in the evening, Monday through Friday.
Duster: What kind of art do you specialize in and what is your favorite technique to use?
Ronelle: I enjoy many art media, but I gravitate toward drawing. Drawing is the basis for capturing concepts for every art discipline– sculpture, painting, jewelry making, etc. — and the immediacy and freedom it gives me to express ideas is one of its most appealing aspects. Mark-making in drawing can be very gestural and intuitive or, with a slightly different emphasis, it becomes tighter and more representational. I have found that, even though the techniques for glass fusion, watercolor and drawing media are not the same, I do approach composition, color theory and concepts for application of the media very similarly.
Ronelle encourages students to check out the exhibits in the CAA building and the LCU Art Studio across Eileen Boulevard. To learn more about LCU art programs, including the Student Art Association, go to lcu.edu/majors-programs/bachelors-degree/communication-and-fine-arts/art/