|Archived Weekly Features
This View by Nancy LeMay
LeMay is a five-time Emmy winning broadcast designer who has
worked both in New York and LA, in network and local. She is
a teacher and a painter as well. You can reach her through her
and by email at NancyLeMayCo@aol.com
| Update, AfterImages:
Healing Through Art
In January I wrote a piece for this space called "AfterImages,"
in which I told you about the alumni magazine of Cooper Union,
"at Cooper." We'd just received the Spring issue, which reported
on the work and experiences of 8 artists whose studios were
on the 91st floor of the WTC North Tower. KFWB reported recently
that these artist's studios are being relocated across the street
from the WTC, to the buildings that comprise the World Financial
The story was a quick reader; they said that the intent of reestablishing
the studios was to help bring people back to the area. I'm glad
they didn't miss the story's significance, because it is representative
of the healing that has begun in this New York neighborhood.
It is a statement, too, of the value of art-making. This part
of Manhattan, that will now always be scarred by the horror
of September 11th, becomes a force in the lasting statements
that those artists will make.
I paint; I've been painting for 35 years. I can tell you that
I waited for the day when I would feel like painting again,
knowing that this would be a signal that I was starting to bring
a useful perspective, a response, to my grief and sense of loss.
I'll tell you this: it will not matter what those artists paint;
being there and painting is an affirmation that's profoundly
powerful. Painting is an act of love, release, meditation, analysis,
confrontation. Bringing these energies to this spot in Lower
Manhattan, picking up the creative dialogue in that particular
place, will strengthen everyone. It means that the spirit that
drives us was not struck down, but remains and finds new strength
and new things to say. The Financial Center buildings are now
familiar to millions as the towers that frame the Trade Center
site when it's viewed from the Hudson River.
The WFC, opened in the mid 1980s', is a mix of office space,
restaurants, fast food places, stores. The northernmost of these
buildings (the one with the pyramid on top) is the headquarters
of American Express. In1989 I worked in t his building; from
the 46th Floor you see Midtown Manhattan rising up like a canyon
wall, stretching from river to river. What a privilege to be
able to paint New York from this vantage point, high up, underneath
a vast sky. A place that's poetic and fragile, and, as we have
seen, incredibly strong and enduring as well.