JERSEY CITY, N.J. — The Hudson County Community College Foundation (HCCC) Art Collection will host a celebration marking the opening of a permanent art exhibit, “Artwork of the Nuns at the Blue Chapel in Union City, 1930s-1990s,” at the HCCC North Hudson Higher Education Center (NHHEC) on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. The reception will be held from 12 p.m. to 2 .p.m. on the seventh floor of the Union City facility located at 4800 Kennedy Blvd.
On view is a variety of work in different media by four nuns who spent their lives as artists in the Monastery of the Perpetual Rosary (the Blue Chapel) located in Union City.
One, Sister Mary of the Compassion, O.P., considered by many to be one of the greatest Dominican artists of the 20th century, was born Constance Dorothy Mary Rowe on March 17, 1908 in England. An Associate of the Royal College of Art, she was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1932 for mural painting. Included among the items now in the HCCC permanent art collection are paintings, drawings, and cards all formerly in private collections, as well as costume designs for three medieval musical plays performed at Hunter College Theater in 1957.
Woodblock prints and cards by Sister Mary Gemma of Jesus Crucified, O.P. (baptized Mary Immaculata Trichilo) attest to the Blue Chapel’s consistent policy of using the innate talents of community members to assist in the monastery’s financial support. Sister Gemma was born on August 1, 1915 in the Italian region of Calabria and entered the cloister of the Blue Chapel in 1939, remaining within until its closing in 2009. Sister died on August 28, 2012, soon after seeing her framed work that was to be displayed in this exhibit.
Other works on display include oils by Sister Mary Hyacinthe, O.P. and Sister Mary Imelda, O.P.
In addition to the permanently installed exhibit on the seventh floor, on the day of the opening, members of the public may visit the library on the third floor and view other works by the nuns on loan from a number of private individuals. On display will be books illustrated by the Sisters, framed house blessings, sacramental remembrances, Mass cards, pictures, and handmade jewelry by Sister Mary of the Compassion.
The Hudson County Community College Foundation Art Collection, which includes artworks in media from painting and sculpture to photographs to American craft pottery and ephemera —reveals aspects of America’s and New Jersey’s rich artistic and cultural history from the Hudson River School period to today. In recent years, the College’s acquisition efforts have focused on strengthening its American and New Jersey modern and contemporary collections.
Since 2006, the HCCC Art Collection has grown to over 250 items. The collection includes works by major American artists and a strong, growing collection of emerging and established New Jersey artists including Richard Artschwager, Will Barnet, Ricardo Barros, Chakaia Booker, W. Carl Burger, Elizabeth Catlett, Chuck Close, Dahlia Elsayed, Larry Fink, Frank Gehry, Owen Kanzler, Barry Le Va, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Agnes Martin, Don Nice, Gordon Parks, Jon Rappleye, Faith Ringgold, Ben Shahn, Kiki Smith, Joan Snyder, Doug + Mike Starn, and Myron Stout.
The reception is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Andrea Siegel, Coordinator of the Permanent Collection, at (201) 360-4007 Asiegel@hccc.edu.