Rebecca Norton Wins Mary Alice Hadley Prize for Visual Art
The Community Foundation of Louisville, in partnership with Louisville Visual Art, presented Louisville-based abstract painter, sculptor and digital fabrication artist Rebecca Norton with the fourth annual Mary Alice Hadley Prize for Visual Art on Thursday, June 15. The special event was held at Louisville Visual Art, 1538 Lytle Street. The $5,000 award is an opportunity for local artists to enhance their careers through a targeted enrichment experience.
Norton will use the prize to pursue a mentorship in digital modeling and fabrication techniques with Erik S. Guzman and Kari Britta Lorenson at the Digital Fabrication Residency in Easton, MD, and to study and sketch gravity hills in Burkittsville, MD, and New Paris, PA. Gravity hills are roadside attractions where objects appear to roll uphill. Norton also will spend time at an artist’s retreat in Bedford, PA, to inspire future work.
Working with artists at the Digital Fabrication Residency will allow Norton to expand her studio practice to include painting immersive and architectural installations, she said. “This experience can also help generate ideas about setting up a similar mentorship program for young artists in my local community. The gravity hill studies and Bedford, PA, retreat will broaden my knowledge of perspectival distortions, landscape and light, enriching the aesthetics and symbolic language of my work.”
During the event, the award was presented by Susan Barry, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Louisville and Lindy Casebier, Executive Director of LVA.
The $5,000 M.A. Hadley Prize is awarded from the George and Mary Alice Hadley Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville. The endowment was established in 1991, and it supports the arts and humanities, particularly visual arts, crafts, theater and the Louisville Free Public Library. The award is a partnership between the Community Foundation of Louisville and Louisville Visual Art, which managed the application process.
The M.A. Hadley Prize Selection Committee comprises a diverse panel of arts professionals from both Louisville and the surrounding area. The more than 40 applicants come from the greater Louisville area, including southern Indiana, and work in the following media: ceramics, graphic design, drawing, crafts, painting, photography, sculpture, video and/or film, printmaking and installation. Norton was selected for her artistic vision, impressive body of work and the innovation of her project.
“The selection committee was very impressed with the range and innovation shown in the artistic samples that Rebecca provided,” said Casebier. “Additionally, the potential community impact that her project will have stood out for the jurors and underlined our interest in supporting the creative community within Louisville.”
Norton said that it is her belief that she learns best when teaching others. For this reason, she intends to set up a mentor-to-mentor program after her Hadley prize immersion experience ends. “Working one-on-one, I will teach basic instruction in digital design and workflow development,” she said. “A student will then get hands-on experience in fabrication methods at FirstBuild, a micro-manufacturing facility and co-creation community that invites its community to participate in the development of design engineering.”
“Louisville artists competing for the Hadley Prize continue to impress us with their originality and passion,” said Barry. “While this award focuses on a single artist and a single project, it has the potential to make a much greater impact. By helping Rebecca develop professionally to realize her full potential, she will be empowered to share her gifts with other artists and the Louisville community.”
Mary Alice Hadley (1911-1965) was born into a family of clay tile makers. She exhibited an early interest in art and design and became a widely recognized painter, winning numerous awards and acclaim from New York to Los Angeles.
In the late 1930s, Hadley began melding her artistic talent with her knowledge of clay ware. She made a set of dishes for her houseboat in 1939 and created such a stir among her friends and acquaintances that the idea for a business was born. With the help of her husband George, the Hadley Pottery Co. was formed in 1940.
Many of her original art pieces are on display in the Hadley Pottery factory in the Butchertown neighborhood of Louisville, including several wall murals all hand-painted by Hadley herself. The business prospered, attracting collectors from across the nation and around the world.
Community Foundation of Louisville, founded in 1984, is the largest charitable foundation in Kentucky with over $448 million in assets and more than 1,370 different funds, each with a charitable purpose defined by the donor. In 2015, the Community Foundation made over 10,500 grants totaling $49 million to local, national and international nonprofits. Working together, the Foundation, its donors and community partners leverage collective knowledge, creativity and resources for a greater impact than any of us can make alone. For more information, visit www.cflouisville.org.
Louisville Visual Art has been improving lives through visual art education, community outreach, and artist support for over 100 years. As a creative hub now established in the Portland Neighborhood, they are dedicated to engaging and encouraging artists through programming such as Artebella Daily, Open Studio Weekend, and weekly calls for artists. LVA is shaping and inspiring the next generation of creative leaders by providing quality instruction to over 5,500 students annually through Children’s Fine Art Classes and outreach programs in schools and community centers. Louisville Visual Art aims to engage, inspire, and improve our community and city through the arts. For more information visit www.louisvillevisualart.org.