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Profiles
Global Education
Jan Arabas
Improving the Community Through
Art and an International Eye
J
an Arabas travels the world to faraway
places including Singapore, Cambodia
and Malaysia learning about the people,
art and culture of different countries. And
when she returns home, it is her Middlesex
students, colleagues and folks outside of the
college who benefit from her discoveries.
Arabas, a Professor of Art and printmaker,
believes strongly that those who feel
compelled to make art should be part of
their communities. "Artists should help
make their communities better. I like doing
that by working on outreach and real-world
projects," she said.
Her accomplishments at MCC reflect her
beliefs. They include launching a successful
International Film Series
art collection, and incorporating design
projects that benefit local organizations
into her classes.
In addition to teaching five classes
each semester in drawing, printmaking
and electronic imaging, and overseeing
the film series, Arabas manages a thriving
professional art career. When she is not
teaching at Middlesex, she's at her
printmaking studio in Melrose, creating
her own work. She has exhibited artwork
in a 2013 exhibition at Holy Cross College
in Worcester, and has another show
coming up this fall at the Newport
(R.I.) Art Association.
"I love doing large-scale installations with
animals and people in them," said Arabas.
"I get fascinated by iconic images, too.
I'm currently doing a series on Zheng Ho, a
Chinese admiral who led 500 sailing vessels
from China to Africa in the 1200s."
Arabas' artwork is in the permanent
collections of such prestigious institutions
as Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Lincoln's
DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park,
and the Boston Public Library.
Having a working artist as a teacher
benefits art students, said Arabas. "MCC's
Studio Art and Graphic Design programs
are strong because we are all professional
artists, working in studios and doing
exhibitions," she said. "As artists, we
bring our practices into the classroom
to share with our students, and watching
these younger artists develop and
evolve stimulates us. It is good for
everyone," she said.
Arabas' own professors encouraged
her when she discovered art as an
undergraduate at the State University of
New York at Binghamton. "I loved drawing
Art Professor Jan Arabas assigned one of her design classes the task of creating a moveable-alphabet teaching tool for students at Murkland School.