The Visual Arts department this semester hosted Nancy Blum as its Marvin Bileck Printmaking Project visiting artist. After her one-week residency, she continued on as a visiting artist-in-residence for three weeks.
Blum is known for her huge and intricate drawings, etchings, sculpture and public art. During her stay, she spent time in Bowdoin’s printmaking studio, working with students in Assistant Professor of Art Carrie Scanga’s Printmaking I. In addition, she also interacted with a number of other Bowdoin classes, including Drawing I, Drawing II, Bio Art and Senior Studio. Blum opened her guest studio to any student who, outside of class, wanted to observe, talk about or create art.
As part of the Marvin Bileck Printmaking Project, Blum delivered a public talk on campus, “Prints, Drawings, and Public Art,” and she offered a professional-practices lunch for visual arts majors and minors to discuss how students can continue in the arts after they graduate. At the conclusion of Blum’s residency, the department hosted a reception, inviting the public to see the work Blum created during her time at Bowdoin.
Students who spent time with Blum spoke about the value of having discussions with her, saying they appreciated the personalized perspectives she offered them on their work and ideas.
“I really enjoyed talking to Nancy one-on one; she was very open to discussing her artistic process, her inspiration, how she collaborates with other artists to complete larger projects, and where she sees her art going in the future,” Anna Hall ’15 said. “I really appreciate the opportunity to hear from a variety of artists who come from very different backgrounds and who work in different media.”
Other students left observations on comment cards. “Having Nancy around Edwards for a month was one of my favorite educational experiences at Bowdoin,” a student wrote. “Nancy was really committed to drawing out people’s interests and potential. Spending time with someone who dedicates herself to art was really lovely, but what was better was talking to someone who really believes the world is wide open for you to take on.”
“I’m so grateful for the time we had with Nancy Blum, especially for the hours I spent with her in the studio,” wrote another student. “Nancy is not just a wonderful teacher – she gave us all some criticism, advice, and praise – but a wonderful person, too. We talked about the art business and her career and I really appreciated her humor and candor. Such a generous person.”
Blum received her MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art and has since been creating and exhibiting extensively in the worlds of printmaking, public art, and drawing. Her work has been recognized through such fellowships as the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Peter S. Reed Foundation, and Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. She has been an artist-in-residence and guest lecturer at numerous institutions; her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at galleries and institutions across the US, and in collections as far as Brussels and South Korea.
Blum’s public art projects are installed throughout the country. Her works include 50 hatch covers in the streets of Seattle, a 40-foot free standing sculpture in Philadelphia and artwork for a large retaining wall through New York City’s MTA Arts in Transit program. Having recently completed three distinct light rail stations for the Central Corridor Light Rail System in Minneapolis/St. Paul, she is currently working on a project for San Francisco General Hospital.
Close-ups of Wonderland panels