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MCC’s own Chris Brees to be featured in Ray Frederick Gallery

Chris BreesMARSHALLTOWN – Marshalltown Community College’s own Chris Brees will share a display of his artwork in MCC’s RayFrederick Gallery, room 306, on the MCC campus. The Brees exhibit will open 9 am on Wednesday, October 14, and will be on display through noon Friday, November 6.

A long standing member of the MCC organization, Brees is both the MCC Director of Student Engagement & Residence Life and the head volleyball coach.

Brees’ exhibit, entitled “Attic of My Disposition,” is comprised of pieces created from memorabilia that a person could find in their attic. Objects that belong to other people that mean something to him. “Good bad or otherwise they have made me what I am today,” commented Brees. “I’m a sentimental person. These are little things in my life or people that have contributed to who I am.”

The exhibit presented somewhat of a challenge for Brees as this will be a much different show than he originally was planning to present. Due to some water damage at his home, several of his original pieces he had planned on sharing were destroyed. Originally the exhibit would have comprised mostly of pencil drawings. He will now have more of a multi-media exhibit including installations, digital, photography and a lot of pencil pastel drawings.

“I really had to branch out as an artist to prepare for this show. It’s a different process to create on a timeline as compared to when your mind, soul, and body tell you to create,” shared Brees. “I had to go to a different place to create as opposed to the original pieces but now I’m starting to get to every hour I want to try something different.” The exhibit Brees was prepared to present may be different than he originally planned but there will be a lot of the same ideals.

Brees isn’t sure when or how his love of art came about, it just did. The only family member that he can remember also having an interest in the arts was his sister who drew animated cartoons. He does remember sitting at his grandma Brees’ table drawing. “I really liked Halloween and Christmas decorations as a child so I would always try and draw those. There are people that took the time with me and I just kept working at it. Drawing didn’t come naturally. I think now visually I just see things differently than other people do. I see the lines of things not the actual object.”

One very influential person came into Brees’ life when he attended Clarke College in Dubuque, his advisor and art faculty member, Louise Kames. She had very similar styles and interests to Brees. She even went beyond the classroom in her influence to Brees when she attended a men’s volleyball game that he was a member of. “She respected what I did on the court and that I was an athlete as well as an art major.”

“Louise was amazing. I don’t think she realizes how much she inspires people. I wanted to take as many of her courses as I could.” Louise and Brees are still friends today.

Brees received two bachelor’s degrees from Clarke College, Art and Communications. “I went more into communications right out of college working for McGraw Hill Publishing Company. I then took my enjoyment from my college volleyball experience to pursue coaching.” Brees continued to use art but just in different forms. “I did some freelance work for Meredith Corporation doing some layout and design. Photography has also always been an outlet for me. Film photography was always a love for me. When digital became more popular it eliminated the surprise since you are able to manipulate what you catch. It takes some of your eye away from it.”

Brees has always had some form of art in his life and never went away from using that skill set. He is very happy for the opportunity to display his art at MCC and when asked what he hopes people take away from the exhibit he commented, “We all have different things in our attic and that makes us different people. The good, the bad, we all have experiences. I try every day in my life to be a better person and understand that we don’t all get the same privileges. Even though you think you see someone it’s not necessarily that you know all about them. The good things aren’t me it’s the good things people made me. I’ve learned things from my family that I will take with me forever I have a great family. I have to remember that’s my attic and when I look at my students every day they don’t all have that.”

Brees is hoping to challenge people that see his exhibit to look at all the differences in people. Don’t pigeon hole them. “People know me at different avenues of my life. I’m Chris the MCC Director of Student Housing and Engagement, the volleyball Coach Brees, or an openly gay male, I’ve been in musicals, a lot of people don’t even know I draw. I’m anxious to see the response to seeing all of these different parts of me, not just one way. All of these things make me who I am. There is a lot that people don’t know about me.”

Another influencer in not only his life but his artwork for Brees is his family. The majority of his family members work to help and support others such as a teacher, social worker, and firefighter. “They inspire me. They make me want to be a better person. My parents have fought health issues and they are both fighters. So I want to be like that.”

Select pieces at the exhibit will be for sale. The Ray Frederick Gallery is open weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information contact MCC Art Professor Tim Castle at 641-844-5776 or

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