“Reimagining the Everyday” by Artist Janet Nolan

December 8, 2021  18:44  |  News

Troy University is showcasing their leadership in arts and recycled products with the exhibition of world-renowned artist Janet Nolan’s “Reimagining the Everyday” exhibit on display at the International Arts Center now through Jan. 9, 2022.

At a public event held to honour the artist on Nov. 18, visitors got a firsthand look at each of the unique pieces Nolan created from discarded objects found on the streets of New York City. They also had the opportunity to experience the whimsical, colourful displays that encourage and provide a positive view of recycling and reuse of objects that have been tossed away. The vastness of the exhibit immerses the viewer into an environment of textures from nature in order to celebrate them as a whole rather than as individual discarded items.

They also had the opportunity to experience the whimsical, colourful displays that encourage and provide a positive view of recycling

Janet Nolan’s “Reimagining the Everyday” is on display at TROY’s International Arts Center. Photo – Troy University archive ©

“It is my desire for students to have the opportunity to experience not only her idea of finding treasure amongst trash but also experience Janet’s artwork,” said Janice Hawkins, First Lady of Troy University. “Troy University is so committed to leading change in environmental studies, it is fitting that we should have some of the artwork created by this wonderful artist. It is my pleasure to honour her request by sharing her message with our students.”

Nolan would canvass the streets of New York City looking for colourful objects she could turn into art. Whether it was discarded umbrellas, men’s ties or plastic bottles, the objects Nolan found served as the foundation of her artwork. As an artist, she also placed intentional, underlying messages within her work which ask viewers and consumers to consider how their daily consumption produces waste for the planet. Nolan also was known for making bold statements with her artwork in order to show how much Americans waste. Her artwork has been on display in some of the nation’s most prominent places including galleries, universities and museums. Harvard University and the famous New York store Bloomingdale’s have commissioned her work.

She was a visiting artist at Troy University in 2003. Before passing away in 2019, Nolan developed a friendship with Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of Troy University, and Mrs. Hawkins. At the time, she was looking for a place for her artwork to reside in hopes of it continuing to positively influence others with its environmental messages. Dr. and Mrs. Hawkins travelled to New York to meet Nolan. After her passing, they worked through Nolan’s longtime friend Dr. James Vickery and Nolan’s sister, Sue Thompson, to facilitate the donation of her artwork to Troy University, which Mrs. Hawkins then carefully placed throughout the Troy Campus.

Among Nolan’s most iconic works in the collection is “Canopy,” which frames the windows of the International Arts Center and overlooks the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park. The work was created from the fabric of dozens of umbrellas stitched together in a quilt-like fashion, producing a flowing piece of art 100 feet long and 12 feet wide, which was originally displayed above Church Street in New York’s Tribeca.

“(When we met,) she talked about her experience in New York, the first time it rained and how people were buying umbrellas and casting them off, and she said she decided there must be something she could do with all those umbrellas,” Mrs. Hawkins said. “So, she went out and would pick up as many as she could carry and took them back to her apartment, and then go back out for more. She said there were just thousands she left on the street because she couldn’t get them all in.”

The Janet Nolan exhibit is one example of how Troy University is fostering leaders and leading change in the arts and recycled products. Troy University also is leading the way in recycling research with the building of its new, fully integrated, multi-disciplinary Center for Materials and Manufacturing Sciences. Earlier in September, TROY demolished McCartha Hall to pave the way for the construction of the new center. The center’s main focus will be researching ways to reduce waste caused by polymeric materials such as plastics and packaging. These types of hands-on leadership opportunities pay off in dividends when students graduate from TROY because they are ready to step into leadership roles in their professional lives.

In addition to the Janet Nolan exhibit, the International Arts Center is featuring the “Stonehenge International” photography exhibit, “The Art of the Story: The Year Through a Troy Lens,” and Brandon Rice’s “Holism: Knowing One’s Self” exhibits. In the Nall Museum, named after world-renowned artist Fred Nall Hollis, visitors will find the “Alice in Wonderland” exhibit and the “MossaNall Dialogues.” In the Huo Bao Zhu Gallery is a replica of China’s “Bronze Chariot and Horses” as well as other art pieces given as gifts by the artist Dr. Huo Bao Zhu. This gallery is the space that often hosts visiting artists and student and faculty shows.

On permanent display and located in the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park are 200 Terracotta Warriors made by Dr. Huo Bao Zhu from Xi’an, China. The warriors were constructed upon careful inspection of the original Terracotta Army buried with China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di, to accompany him in his afterlife. With expert craftsmanship, Dr. Huo Bao Zhu created this collection to reflect how it would have been originally constructed. In addition, the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park is the home to a series of benches created by artist Frank Marquette, walking trails and an amphitheatre that hosts live performances throughout the year.

The Janet Nolan exhibit is free to the public and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. TROY inspires one-of-a-kind cultural experiences through each of the exhibits at the International Arts Center.






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