MCLA

Art Exhibit Travels to Endicott College

Dr. Tony Gengarelly to present lecture


02/20/2009

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has announced the first venue for its traveling exhibit, "The Arts and Life of Jessica Park," at Endicott College in Beverly.

Curated by MCLA students, the exhibit features paintings, drawings and early creations by Park, who has autism. All stages in the development of Jessica's art are included, and the remarkable circumstances under which her art was created are presented in texts that interpret the artist's work through her long journey out of the isolated world of autism.

To highlight the exhibit, MCLA professor Dr. Anthony Gengarelly, Ph.D., who along with MCLA students wrote "Exploring Nirvana: the Art of Jessica Park," will present a lecture and sign books on Thursday, March 5, at 3 p.m. in the Visiting Artist Gallery at Endicott. A reception will follow, from 4 to 6 p.m. 

The event is free and open to the public.

This exhibition introduces to the public a 96-page book, "Exploring Nirvana: The Art of Jessica Park."  Published by MCLA in 2008, this tribute to the artist contains 86 color reproductions and text created by MCLA faculty and students, with contributions from Dr. Oliver Sacks, Clara Claiborne Park and Emmanuelle Delmas-Glass. In addition to the originals on display in the show, "The Art and Life of Jessica Park" presents photographs of the artist at work and other candid pictures from her artistic career.

A project of Gengarelly's advanced museum studies class, "Exploring Nirvana" marks the first time that MCLA students produced a major publication.

The Park project, which spanned four years, began in spring 2004 with an exhibition of her art at MCLA's 94 Porter Street Gallery, which drew hundreds of visitors. The popularity of this exhibit led to the idea of a catalogue of Park's work, which became a course called "Topics in Arts Management: Art Book," in fall 2004, where students did research about autism and Park, and wrote essays about her paintings.

Nine students from the spring 2004 exhibition, joined by 10 students new to Park and her art, created an initial group of 18 entries that serve as the basis for "Exploring Nirvana." Eleven of these students continued to work on the book project into the spring of 2005 and, in the second course on the subject, "Art Book II," students generated eight more entries, developed a book layout, and raised money to support its publication

In spring 2007, yet another museum studies class - involving seven more students - organized the traveling exhibition, "The Art and Life of Jessica Park," to provide a context for the release and marketing of the book. The first venue for the exhibit was MCLA Gallery 51 in downtown North Adams.

"It is through this kind of experiential learning that so much about human nature and the working world can be understood and then combined in a project that invites all students on various levels to participate and to share their insights and enthusiasm about the remarkable art of a truly extraordinary person," Gengarelly said.

Jessica Hillary Park, born July 20, 1958, lives and works in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The daughter of Clara and David Park, Jessica is the subject of two important books by her mother, "The Siege" and "Exiting Nirvana."

A primarily self-taught artist, even though she learned how to draw realistically and was introduced to acrylic colors during her high school years, Jessica employs unique painting techniques to create art that both exemplifies and overcomes the obstacles she faces in daily life.

Her work is well known and sought after.  She is represented by Pure Vision Arts, a division of the Shield Institute in New York City (www.purevisionarts.org), and works primarily on commission. Her list of individual and group shows is impressive and she has received numerous awards and recognition for her art.

For more information on "The Art and Life of Jessica Park" and its related events at Endicott College, contact Kathleen J. Moore, 978.232.2655 or e-mail kmoore@endicott.edu.

The Life and Art of Jessica Park: An Artist's Journey out of the Isolated World of Autism

February 27 - April 3, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Artists Gallery

Center for the Arts

Endicott College, Beverly, Massachusetts 01915

 

Lecture and Book Signing:  Thursday, March 5, 2009, 3- 4 p.m. Recital Hall

Reception: Thursday, March 5, 2009, 4- 6 p.m.

Gallery hours: Monday - Thursday, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.