Campbellsville University Art Exhibit will Feature Work of Alumnus Jama Watts

By Ashley Sidebottom, staff writer

CAMPBELLSILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University will showcase artwork by alumnus Jama Watts in an art exhibit through Sept. 21 at the new art gallery across from Gosser Fine Arts Center.
A reception in her honor will be Monday, Sept. 17 in the art gallery from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

The public is invited to this free exhibit, which will feature numerous works of art, including paintings on canvas and glass, scratchboard and jewelry.

Watts was born in 1975 in Paducah, Ky., raised in Eminence, Ky., and then transplanted to Lebanon, where she resides with her husband, Paul Perkins, and their daughter, Amber.

“Getting to go to the art room in elementary school was always something special for me. I loved getting my hands dirty with clay, painting and drawing,” Watts said. “But, since my dad was an engineer and I was good at math, I always thought I’d be an architect.”

After meeting with the dean of architecture at the University of Kentucky, Watts decided she wanted to take a different career path.

She took an art class in high school, which “renewed her love of creating,” and Watts chose to study art in college.

Watts studied art and art history at Campbellsville University. While at CU, she was introduced to the work of feminist artist Judy Chicago.

“I was fortunate enough to see ‘The Dinner Party’ while it was being shown at the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Seeing that exhibit really changed my life.”

Watts received her bachelor of science degree in art from Campbellsville University in 1997.
Another life-changing event occurred during Watts’ pregnancy.

“During this time, my doctors didn’t allow me to paint and I had to find another creative outlet.”
It was then that Watts discovered the art of jewelry-making.

“It started out with simple beaded pieces and has exploded with the addition of wire and metal clay,” Watts said. “I dream about jewelry designs in my sleep!”

Watts owns and operates These Precious Things, a small art gallery and coffee bar, in Lebanon.
She is active in shows with the Lexington Art League, Marion County Arts & Humanities Council, and is represented by several galleries throughout Central Kentucky in addition to These Precious Things, including the retail gallery at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville, Highland Raku Studio in Columbia, Ky., and Our Favorite Things in Louisville.

Watts recently filmed a spot for “That’s Clever,” a daily, half-hour series on Home & Garden Television that highlights the contemporary crafting scene from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Ore. The episode will air on HGTV in February 2008.

She will also be featured in an international ad campaign for Fire Mountain Gems and in Bead & Button Magazine’s February 2008 issue.

Watts’ work was recently displayed in Fire Mountain Gems’ yearly catalog, as well as their website as she was a finalist in their 2007 jewelry design competition. Her work can also be found online with Rings & Things for her honorable mention in their “Your Designs Rock!” contest.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Judy Clark in the Office of Student Records at (270) 789-5233.

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,310 students who represent 100 Kentucky counties, 32 states and 28 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his ninth year as president.

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