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Studio M—States of Waiting by Treacy Ziegler

Treacy Ziegler Born in a Diaspora, 43x36x15” paper cast from letters of prisoners, 2018

Treacy Ziegler Marked Face, 23x26x12”, paper cast from the letters of prisoners, 2018

States of Waiting by Treacy Ziegler is on view in Studio M at Massillon Museum from June 22 through August 11, 2019. The opening reception is on Saturday, June 22, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., concurrent with the opening of the Heritage of Harvest: The Industry of Agriculture in Western Stark County,  and is free and open to everyone. No reservations are needed.

Before studying art at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Ziegler received a master of social work from University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor of science from Drexel University in community mental health, headed for a career as a social worker in protective services for abused children in the housing projects of Philadelphia.

For 25 years, Ziegler has exhibited her artwork in galleries throughout the United States, working in sculpture, painting, and printmaking. She was totally immersed in studio work for 18 years, but in 2008, she felt there were people who were excluded from the art world to whom she wanted to show her art. She initiated the project, An Open Window; began exhibiting art in prisons; and volunteered in prisons as an art teacher. “Much of this has been in Ohio, where the prison system seems more art-friendly than many other states,” the artist said. As a volunteer, she also creates through-the-mail art curricula for 6500 prisoners throughout the United States. This work has influenced her art and pushed her into reflecting upon the art experience and the parameters of freedom in any creativity, for both prisoners and non-prisoners. 

About 10 years ago, on the Cornell University campus, Ziegler came upon 200 mounted birds in a science building atrium. Their strange presence caught in glass cases inspired her to draw them on a regular basis, forcing her to create art differently. She had been a printmaker and painter, but the impact of drawing from life made the two dimensions of printmaking and painting no longer sufficient.

With a bronze foundry in her studio, the experience of the birds expanded to include other animals in bronze. The medium of bronze veered to include paper casting thousands of letters received from 6,500 prisoners in her through-the-mail project, Prisoner Express, affiliated with Cornell University. In addition to teaching in prisons, she creates projects for prisoners throughout the United States. More about these letters can be found by an internet search for “Falling Leaves: Letters from Prison.” Through Prisoner Express, Ziegler receives approximately 20,000 letters yearly.

Creating sculpture from the letters seemed more respectful than recycling when she thought of the loneliness, hope, despair, gratefulness often reflected in the letters. “I hope the letters become the sculptures’ unspoken presence of the commitment I have in my relationship to prisoners with whom I meet.”

Ziegler writes the online art journal, "Broad Street Review," which can be read at http://www.broadstreetreview.com/authors/treacy-ziegler. Her website is http://www.treacyzieglerfineart.com and the website for the prison work is https://prisonerexpress.org/

In addition to the Heritage of Harvest exhibition in the Aultman Health Foundation Gallery, Studio M guests on June 22 can visit other MassMu exhibitions: Massillon Woman’s Club: A Century of Sisterhood (through June 23); 125 Years of the Greatest High School Rivalry and Paul Brown: Lessons from the Bench in the Paul Brown Museum; and The Immel Circus (always on view). 

The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark.

During construction in downtown Massillon, it will be most convenient to find free parking spaces in municipal lots accessed on Second Street SE and First Street NE and in the city parking deck accessed on Erie Street South. Visit massillonmuseum.org/hours-and-directions for a parking map and updates.

The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way, East (Ohio 172) in downtown Massillon. A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free.  

 
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