In an effort to encourage UA employees to participate in the juried “On Our Own Time” art exhibit, we are featuring some past winners in a series of articles written by Susan L. Miller and originally printed in 2009. These colleagues balanced a busy professional and personal life and still found time to pursue their muse. So can you!
Mary Lor, whose “Trash Can” won First Place in Sculpture at “On Our Own Time”, said “The most interesting thing for me is the experience of art. Being in a studio or workshop is a place where one can connect with their adventure in this world. I remember when I was in high school there were clay studios and wood workshops available to students.” Mary’s innate talent was recognized early and an uncle helped her get into a community college for a painting class before she was even old enough. Mary was influenced by her talented brother who painted and got her thinking about art early on, as well as her grandmother who created some beautiful watercolor flower works that everyone in their family loves.
Mary works currently for what she referred to as “everyone’s favorite: Parking and Transportation” and said, “I’m lucky to be in the best part of that group; “CatTran”. It’s great to be able to drive around this campus and experience all the thinking going on.”
Mary got involved in the UA staff art exhibit when “a coworker and I discovered our mutual interest in textile arts. We came across the “On Our Own Time” exhibit a couple of years ago and kept thinking we should enter one of these times. Well we finally did and I entered a couple of pieces I had made years ago on this campus in a studio space that is now the Marroney Theater.” Mary had been studying business at the time and was able to take a metalsmithing course taught by Michael Croft; a real privilege and as Mary said, “another thing that does not happen anymore. I wonder if kids today have the opportunity to take a class out of their major?”
In sharing the inspiration behind her winning “Trash Can” sculpture, Mary said she was involved in the new recycling program on campus at that time. “It was a concern of mine about the tons of paper being used by computers. Everything was printed on paper and it was an enormous waste. So we were at least recycling it. While I was in metalsmithing class our final project was to express our experience in life or something like that.”
Looking back, Mary said at the time the sculpture seemed a little too blatant. “When it was originally displayed I had a miniature globe spilling out of the trash can.” Recycling this piece for the On Our Own Time show, Mary said that this was “the first time I had put it in a gallery or anywhere. To have it win was a warm homecoming for that little can and all it represents for me.”
Mary said she may enter again this year with some recent work but she expected the experience would be completely different. She added, “That is what is so wonderful about art. It brings out so much light on the experience of life.”
Do you have a piece that you worked on “back in the day”? Maybe it’s time to let that gem see “the light of day.” (Okay…no more clichés…we promise!) The UA “On Our Own Time Art Show” event is especially designed to showcase the talent of UA employees and family members. Make this your year to get involved!
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The Annual Art Show and Awards of The National Arts Program® for University of Arizona Employees, Retirees and Volunteers and their Immedite Family Members Co-sponsored by The National Arts Program Foundation of Malvern, Pennsylvania, and the University of Arizona Employee Recognition Committee.