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ACC Exhibit Features Penny Paintings

As the COVID-19 shutdown set in during the spring of 2020, artist and Alvin Community College alum Sam Jowers tried to come up with a project for her students to work on while they were away from school.

Many of her students at Pearland High School had been together in Art classes throughout high school and because of the shutdown, the seniors likely would not see each other again after the semester ended, she said.

“It was really important to have that connection with each other,” Jowers said. “So I told them they had to create a tiny image that represented themselves and we were going to exchange them.”

Jowers participated too and decided to create miniature paintings onto pennies.

“It was such a fun, satisfying process,” she said. “I started posting them on to Instagram and the response was really overwhelming.”

In all, she painted more than 100 pennies as part of the project. Each work included portraits of popular celebrities, landscapes of tourist destinations or events that were happening in the news.

The penny paintings will be put on display at the ACC Building J studio as part of an exhibit called “COVID Pennies.”

“We found the subject of this show really connected with the returning to face-to-face classes, being together again and all the stories that needed to be updated,” said Alex Ordonez, ACC Art faculty member.

Coming up with the ideas for the paintings and then putting them on the pennies was a daily experience, Jowers said.

“You need inspiration,” she said. “There’s lots of different things that I responded to from the news, politics and the anxieties of the time. There will always be something exciting out there if I keep looking.”

The penny exhibit is a gift back to the students who were forced to create in a challenging environment.

“If you love what you do, you’re going to make it,” Jowers said. “It’s going to happen. You just have to decide that the struggle is worth it. You always have to believe in what you are.”

The exhibit will be on display from August 23 to September 5 in Building J. There will be a welcome reception on September 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. To see more of her work, visit her Instagram page @sam_jowers.