APSU receives donation to establish James T. and Dorothy Mann Wall of Legacy in Department of Art + Design
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — When longtime Austin Peay State University art professor and acclaimed sculptor Olen Bryant died in July, Clarksville resident Jim Mann understood as well as anyone what both the University and the Clarksville community lost.
"At Olen’s funeral, people talked about all the ways Olen impacted people’s lives beyond just his classroom lessons,” Mann said. “I heard stories from faculty, friends and former students about how he would do things like making an anonymous donation to an art student who was struggling financially so that they could continue their studies.
“It’s people like Olen who find ways to reach out and help students that really make an impact at a University.”
With the contributions of Bryant and other emeritus faculty in mind, Mann and his wife Dottie recently made a generous contribution to Austin Peay to establish the James T. and Dorothy Mann Endowment. The endowment will be used to create the James T. and Dorothy Mann Wall of Legacy, paying tribute to Art + Design emeritus faculty that have, like Bryant, impacted the lives of the department’s students.
The timing of the donation coincides with the department’s evolution, as the opening of the new Art + Design Building last spring affords the space and resources for what Mann said he hopes the Wall of Legacy can represent for past — and future — students.
“A lot of places have a plaque with names on it, but if you don’t know those people, those names are meaningless,” Mann said. “With this new building and the technology we have available to us, we have the chance to really show people their importance to the art community at Austin Peay through their own words and those of the people they impacted.”
The Wall of Legacy will be a digital display that allows viewers to explore and learn about the lives of the department’s honored emeritus faculty. Each year, current Art + Design faculty will vote on the emeritus faculty member to be honored, with Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts (CECA) student interns interviewing the honoree and helping to create a multimedia presentation of their story and work.
Alongside the Wall of Legacy will be an Outstanding Alumni plaque, honoring accomplished Art + Design alumni. Voted on by current faculty, the honoree will be announced at a special Department of Art + Design event during the academic year.
Mann said his hope is that alumni can one day return to campus and show their children how the faculty that make up Austin Peay’s Department of Art + Design changed their lives.
“Where I’m coming from is, if you came through the art department years ago, and you’re bringing your children or grandchildren back to campus, you can show them more than just a name on a wall that was once your teacher,” Mann said. “With the Wall of Legacy, you can say ‘this person impacted my life, and here’s some of their work and here’s examples of how they touched me and other students during their careers.’”
For information on how to support this scholarship, contact the APSU Office of Advancement at www.apsu.edu/advancement.