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Archival Photos Reimagined

An exhibition presenting the Central Piedmont Archives as a source of inspiration for creative expression and featuring archival photos as references for reimagined artworks.

Inside the Lava Lamp by Erin Allsop

Erin Allsop's color-infused creation incorporates a copy of the archival photo she chose of two welding students posing for a photo-op.

"While I am not a professional artist, I have always loved creating art in ways that help ease my anxiety and calm my mind," she said. "I love working with watercolor, acrylic paint, crayons, colored pencils, and more, but I usually would 'color in the lines' or follow the steps the teacher would give. With this project, however, I simply let the paint move and collide with other colors in the ways it needed to. Trusting the paint and the process - so to speak. This art project has been such a positive experience for me - it helped me to look at our resources in a different light."

She enjoyed bringing her vision to life, and participating in the project has inspired her to further explore the acrylic pouring technique during her own time.


The links below will direct you to CONTENTdm, our digital collection management system, where you can view the images in greater detail.

Welding Students

Tom Covington

c. 1980s

Black-and-white photography

Students from the welding program honing their craft. Welding courses were offered at the Central Industrial Education Center, and after it merged with Mecklenburg College in 1963 to form Central Piedmont, the welding program continued to grow and became one of the one most sought-after trades at the College.

Inside the Lava Lamp

Erin Allsop


Acrylic paint, paper, and glitter on black canvas (16 x 20 in)

Pouring the acrylic paint onto the canvas created the illusion of fluid bubbles as they flow in a lava lamp. The spark of the welder's blowtorch was the focal point, giving the illusion he was creating a spark of color in a dark environment. Silver glitter was added in the final states for an additional shine.

Artist Bio

As the archivist for Central Piedmont Community College, Erin Allsop is always surrounded and inspired by the images and historical moments captured in our resources. She's been with the college since 2016 and has found great joy in teaching our students how to access our resources and discover connections to our institutional heritage. Her background is in library science, archival management, and history - and all throughout her studies, art is a common thread that has helped her to grow.