Who knew there was an entire art discipline for creators of medals? Certainly not I – until I saw the Art Medal World Congress exhibition in 2007 in Colorado Springs. These medals are miniature sculptures. Many are round, and some are no more than palm-size but certainly you can hold them in your hand. Thus, medals.

I went to the exhibit to photograph the works of FRCC art faculty Camille Rendal and her student, Elaine Swenson. Medals from artists from 27 countries were accepted for the exhibit. This international gathering is sponsored by the Fédération Internationale de la Médaille (International Medal Federation).

Two years later, Camille, Elaine, and student Marcy Davis had other medals accepted for the Art World Congress, this time in Finland. I didn’t get to go. And because of distance and Eyjafjallajökull, the Icelandic volcano, disrupting travel plans, neither did the FRCC artists.

If you’re spotting a trend in the making, I wouldn’t disagree. This year, four of Camille’s students have had medals accepted in an international online exhibition organized by Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland.

Nicolle Pratt, Margie Drake, Camille Rendal, Lana Bell

The students are Lana Bell, Margie Drake, Drew Largo, and Nicolle Pratt.

Art students at 12 universities or colleges in 10 countries produced the artwork. The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pa., is the only other U.S. institution involved in the exhibition.

The subject of this exhibition is “Home.”

“Students came up with a design that they felt represented ‘Home’ literally or in broad or abstract terms,” Camille tells me. “We then sent the images in to be included in this international online exhibit.”

Nicolle says she developed her idea “from my feeling that home is a safe, cozy place where one keeps their treasures. I felt that a nest truly embodied the coziness and closeness of home and the treasures symbolized by the rings and gilded jack are, of course, partnership and children.”

The organization of colleges and universities may differ from country to country, but one thing I noticed on the Web site is that all but one of the institutions have “Art” in their name. For example, they are a “National Academy of Arts” or an “Academy of Fine Arts” or a “University of Art and Design,” or the aforementioned University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

All but one – Front Range Community College in Longmont, Colorado, USA.

Please tell me what you think about medal art in the comment section below.

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