Pictured: The work of Emilie Brzezinski graced the debut of the Woodlands Art Collection within the new Nada Marie Anid, Ph.D. Art Gallery and Student Lounge on the first floor of 1855 Broadway.
On November 8, New York Tech celebrated the launch of its Woodlands Art Collection with the inaugural exhibit: “Art, Health and Wellness: The Power of Nature—Through the Eyes of Sculptor Emilie Brzezinski.”
The exhibit, housed within the new Nada Marie Anid, Ph.D. Art Gallery and Student Lounge on the first floor of 1855 Broadway on the New York City campus, features three original sculptures: Cherry Bench II, a formidable bench hewn from a single cherry trunk that welcomes visitors to sit and explore, and Girl and Boy, two pieces from Brzezinski’s Water Garden Collection. Featuring images of the artist in action and with many of her other works, the exhibit explores the critical connections between art and nature, healing, family, resilience, learning, and design. A film with interviews of Brzezinski and a display of the tools of her craft round out the exhibit.
Brzezinski’s daughter, Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and founder of Know Your Value, represented her mother at an invitation-only opening event and was accompanied by her co-host and husband Joe Scarborough. Also present for the opening were Jonathan Lemire, Susan Del Percio, Mike Barnacle, and others from the Morning Joe team, the family of the late Nada Anid, for whom the gallery is named, friends and neighbors of the artist, New York Tech alumni, Mohammad Tariq Jamal (B.S. ’18), president of the Graduate Student Association on the New York City campus, and Anoushka Guha and Lillian Pratt, presidents of the Long Island and New York City Student Government Associations, respectively. The artist made a virtual appearance from her studio in Florida.
“At almost 90 years, every day my mother pulls herself up straight, and her tools and her art are a central part of her life,” Mika Brzezinski explained, noting that it is her art that helps heal her and that from a very young age, trees and their secrets have been her mother’s passion. “Throughout her life, she never gave up on her identity as an artist. She's a woman who knew exactly who she was and was really ahead of her time.”
New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio joined in the celebratory ribbon cutting, and shared his thoughts on the power of art and culture as New York City rebounds from the pandemic. “This exhibit moves me on many levels,” he said. “We come out of it with a sense of our own strength. Just as Emilie shows us the resilience and beauty of nature…I hope everyone who sees this exhibit leaves it wanting to do more.”
“We are so lucky to be here to celebrate two such inspirational women. The new gallery space is part of New York Tech’s ongoing commitment to providing an outstanding experience for its students—the world’s future innovators, makers, doers, and healers—giving them access to high-quality, immersive cultural experiences that spark their creativity,” notes Suzanne Musho, New York Tech chief architect and vice president for real estate development and strategic capital planning.
Musho explained how she came across Brzezinski’s work while developing the university's sustainability action plan and how she, Emilie, and Mika have been working together over the past year to turn their ideas for the exhibit into reality. “Emilie’s work, as you can see, is an amazing combination of art, engineering, and nature.” Musho’s plan is to showcase Girl and Boy on New York Tech’s Long Island campus at a later date.
New York Tech President Hank Foley virtually welcomed attendees at the opening. “We are here today because of strategy and ideas. First our strategy is to do everything that we can to enhance the student’s experience...to engage and bridge both sides of the student’s brain, and not just in the classroom, but in other places, as well,” he noted as he explained that the idea behind the exhibit was to bridge the gaps between our two New York-area campuses. “To reflect our wooded Long Island campus in Manhattan, the answer was Emilie Benes Brzezinski’s art. Her sculptures embody the forest and the power of nature, which was just what we were seeking. Emilie’s sculptures bring the essence of woodlands to the very heart of our Manhattan campus, to where our students gather.”
The Woodlands Art Collection will be open to New York Tech students, staff, and faculty. It can also be accessed by the community at large by invitation or during once-a-month public viewings. At the first public showing on Friday, November 19, the curation of the exhibit will be discussed and tours of the exhibit will be given.
The inaugural exhibit will be open to the public on the third Friday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m. All visitors will be required to complete New York Tech’s health screen, including proof of vaccination.