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"Nourish" - Tufts libraries staff artwork at Tower Gallery

How does the creative side of Tufts libraries staff manifest itself and how do those creative endeavors enrich and nourish their lives?  For a third year, the Tower Gallery in Tisch library has asked Tisch library staff to submit art for its summer exhibition and for the first time asked for and received artwork from each of Tufts’ libraries – Tisch, Hirsh Health Sciences, Edwin Ginn, and Webster Family - as well as Digital Collections and Archives (DCA) and University Library Technology Services (ULTS).

nourish, the artwork The exhibition’s title, Nourish, is taken from the canvas of the same name by the Lilly Music library’s Julie-Ann Bryson.   She chose “nourish” to use in Ali Edwards’ “one little word” project in which each participant picks a word for the year and completes monthly journaling and creative assignments using it.  In choosing “nourish,” Julie-Ann explains “I felt I could relate it to all of the things I really wanted to work on this year – my health, my relationships, and my artwork.   So far the word has been a great motivator for me, especially when I stop and make thoughtful decisions based on whether or not something is a nourishing choice.   One of the prompts Ali sent us was to visualize our word, so I thought, what better way to visualize it than to create a canvas for my growing collection of one-word paintings.”

Staff participating in the Tower Gallery show also were asked to comment on how their creative activities “nourished” their professional or leisure lives. Rebecca Philio of the Hirsh Health Sciences library responded that “taking the time to either create or appreciate something beautiful can definitely nourish the soul.  I always feel more connected and alive when I can pause and really examine something that stimulates me.” The ideas of time and connection also inspire quilter Erin Faulder of DCA – “Quilting allows me time and space where my perfectionist, mathematical mind interacts with my colorful, creative mind. It's a practice that ties me with the history of my family's five-generations of quilters. For me, quilting is an act of love so I often give my quilts to friends and people who need warmth and bright cheery colors in their lives.”

Time itself can also become the art, as Tony Kodzis’ weathered work Shutter #2 demonstrates.  Stripped of paint by 40 years of Plum Island elements on the outside, it remains vibrant on its inward facing side. He replied to the concept of “nourish” with a haiku - “Over time, the way we respond to life defines us.”

For photographer Amey Callahan, the experience of being in the moment and aware of one’s surroundings has enriched her travels to Cuba and elsewhere. “It allows me to focus on a thought and gives me the freedom of focusing on the expression of a culture.” Similarly for Charlotte Keys of ULTS, the skill of awareness is a salient aspect in her artistry where the act of creating affords the opportunity to witness the interconnectivity of all things.  She offered this quote from The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - “Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web.”

While for others, the nourishment was simply literal.  Suzanne Duncan, who created Christmas ornaments from eggshells, explained - “Each egg that came out of my 30 (or more) egg shells ended up as part of my roommate’s breakfast nourishment for a couple of months! Personally, I was surprised that I could do something artistic which I would be pleased to share with friends.”

The exhibition also includes work by Andrew Standeven (paintings), Brad Macomber  (guitar pedals), Bill Bilkić (short stories), Connie Reik (crochet), Harriet Chenkin (encaustic monoprint and handmade bound book), Marsha Paiste (photography), and Miles Donovan (illuminated laser etching).  It will be on display through September 8, 2014.

The Tower Gallery is located on Tisch Library’s main level, Level 2, along the corridor leading to the Tower Café.   It is a venue for Tufts classes, groups, and individual students to display their artwork.  For more information regarding this exhibit or exhibiting work in the gallery, please contact Anthony Mengelkamp at Anthony.Mengelkamp@tufts.edu

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