Who knew that taking an art course at FRCC could lead to international art exhibitions across the world—from New York City to Scotland to Bulgaria?
For Nicolle Pratt, that exciting journey began two years ago, when her medallion art was accepted for exhibition by the International Congress of the Federation Internationale de la Medaille d’Art (International Art Medal Federation, also known as FIDEM). Nicolle made the medal in her Jewelry and Metal Work class, taught by FRCC Boulder County Campus art instructor Camille Rendal.
The 2012 FIDEM Congress was held in Glasgow, Scotland, and Nicolle was among artists from a dozen colleges and universities in 10 countries to have a medal accepted. Of those students, four were from Front Range Community College—one of only two U.S. institutions involved in the 2012 exhibition.
Becoming a Medallion Artist
When the biennial FIDEM Congress came around in 2014—this time, for exhibition in Sofia, Bulgaria—Nicolle knew she would submit medals once again. “I just love the process,” says Nicolle. “You make a clay mold, and then build a wax mold that the foundry uses for pouring the bronze. There’s something viscerally awesome about working in those different materials.”
Learning Metalsmithing and More at FRCC
Nicolle took her first FRCC class in 2009 to learn metalsmithing after she had started a jewelry business. She’s been taking independent study with Camille and other classes on and off ever since.
“What I love about Front Range is the supportive, caring environment of the art department,” says Nicolle, who graduated in 1998 from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Political Science. “That first class really opened me up as an artist.”
Creating New Opportunities
Nicolle’s FRCC experience also has opened her up to new opportunities in the local and national art world. Thanks to an introduction by Camille, Nicolle became a board member for the Longmont Council for the Arts and has gotten involved in building a vibrant arts community for her town.
In 2011, she participated in FRCC’s 10-day study abroad program, traveling with Camille and other art students to Italy to study drawing and photography. And after getting to know the head of the American delegation of FIDEM, who owns the New York gallery, Medialia, Nicolle had the opportunity to display several of her medals there.
Exhibiting Her Art in Bulgaria
This year, Nicolle had three medals accepted for the FIDEM Congress, exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum in Bulgaria in September. She was one of 103 participants from all around the world—and one of just 36 American artists accepted for the Congress (out of 121 entries). All of Nicolle’s medals were inspired by textures and textural growths seen in succulent plants, tree branches, and moss.
She plans to continue to submit work to future FIDEM Congress exhibitions and hopes to one day attend a Congress where her work is displayed. For now, she’ll continue to do what she does best here at home: create.
“The idea of a career in this is exciting, but who knows what the future holds,” Nicolle says. “I’m just happy to learn from and among such a great group of people at FRCC who come from all walks of life.”