Lycoming College senior brings Dominican flavor to First Friday art exhibit

PHOTOS PROVIDED Above, Lycoming College senior Schai Bilger stands with one of her drawings at her “Las Personas” exhibit.

When Lycoming Co­llege senior Schai Bilger traveled to the Dominican Republic last May to teach students in local, private and international schools, she figured she would be leaving her impact on the locals. As it turned out, they left a significant impact on her, too.

The sense of community she experienced while on the trip was like nothing she has seen before. Last week, during First Friday, she hosted the exhibit “Las Personas” at the Community Arts Center to honor those she met along the way.

“I was just really inspired by the landscape and the people,” she said. “It was my first time outside of the country, so that was something I have never experienced before. It really opens your eyes and is a culture shock.”

The exhibit featured several large and very colorful portraits drawn with color pencils. Bilger said the vibrant colors were a product of the subject matter, as she normally uses darker and muted colors in her work.

“I really wanted to push the pencil into these to get them really bright,” she said. “Working with bright colors can definitely brighten your mood. I even threw on some Spanish music that I listened to while I was down there to get me in a groove.”

The “Las Personas” exhibit was the second Bilger has done to commemorate her time in the Dominican Republic. She also did a show earlier this year which included photographs and design work, but she wanted this exhibit to focus solely on the people.

“I started working on these as soon as I got back, but I just finished a few of them recently,” said Bilger.

When asked about how things have been going at Lycoming College, as her collegiate career gets ready to wrap up, Bilger said she knows she made the right choice in attending the school.

“I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t go to Lycoming,” she said. “I had dabbled with the idea of other design schools, but Lycoming also has educational programs. Because I commute, it opened up more opportunities for me to take travel courses.

“I am just thrilled with the experiences that are offered there,” she added.

For those who like to see more of Bilger’s art, her works can be found on Instagram under the handle @Schailain.