ABAC featured, “Another Woman’s Treasure: A Retrospective,” an art exhibit created by Professor of Art, Donna Hatcher. As a first-generation college graduate, Hatcher earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Georgia, and a master’s degree in painting from Cornell University.
According to Susan Roe, ABAC’s Fine Arts Department Head and Professor of Voice says, “Donna Hatcher completes what fine arts are on our campus and the health of fine arts.”
The Bowen Hall Art Gallery displayed Hatcher’s exhibit for two hours on Tuesday, March 26. The gallery quickly became packed with professors, students and visitors from the surrounding counties.
The work Hatcher displayed consisted of mixed media, paintings, glass-blown vases and sculptures. The collection of art from Hatcher not only showed off how vast her skills and talents range, but also tells the story of challenges and obstacles she had to overcome to get where she is today.
Hatcher repurposes the stuff most people would throw away and turns it into colorful pieces of artwork. The work titled “Self Portrait #2” used a pair of latex gloves covered with a hardening residue for preservation. “That’s me, those are my hands you see there,” said Hatcher.
“My personal art is always related to my travels and to the students I teach,” said Hatcher. “Sometimes, something they’ve thrown away, I’ll claim it and then incorporate it into one of my collages.”
Sandra Giles, a Professor of English at ABAC, said, “Her work is very textural and makes me want to touch it!”
She continued, “Her work often uses reclaimed items that usually would be considered garbage. That says a lot about our culture and what we value, or don’t value or what we need to survive.”
The garbage patches in the oceans with islands of plastic gave Hatcher the desire to make something beautiful and symbolic, creating a piece of art from single-use plastics. After months of brainstorming, she created a chandelier out of chicken wire, plastic bottles and LED lights.
The chandelier is titled after the exhibit, “Another Woman’s Treasure.” The warm and cool LED lights laid behind the plastic bottles, giving the piece an illuminating, light display. Briefly after starting work at ABAC, Hatcher survived a massive car wreck with two semi-trucks, leaving her pick-up truck totaled. Trial and tribulation followed when she had to learn how to walk and understand sounds again.
As if the wreck hadn’t taken enough from her, she lost some of the artistic abilities that she perfected through her journey as both an artist and student. One of the most challenging skills she re-learned is glass blowing. “I realized it wasn’t the skills that I lost with my hands, it was the skills that I lost with my mind,” said Hatcher.
Before the wreck, Hatcher perfected the craft of glass blowing and would often blow vases that were two feet long. It took years for her to recover enough to be able to blow glass again.
Eventually, Hatcher regained enough skill that she can create vases up to 8-10 inches long. She can’t create the same sized vases she could before the wreck, but she proved she still has the talent with a collection of four vases titled “Relationships.”
“Relationships,” featured vases with odd shapes and unique designs. The vases didn’t stand upright like normal vases, instead, they leaned over to the side, without falling over. “From making this, I made the most beautiful piece in my mind.”
Hatcher explained, “When you put different glasses together like relationships, some of them might melt slow, some of them might melt fast. Then you got this big mess you’re trying to take on so you can create meaning for your life and other people’s life.”
The next big project that Hatcher has planned is renovating and restoring Tifton’s oldest church, formerly known as the Bessie Tift Church. Her idea is to turn this into her personal art studio and community outreach project.
The property came into her ownership after purchasing it from the county sale at the end of the year. Nobody else wanted this church, so Hatcher purchased it so she could turn something abandoned into a place for creativity.
“Donna Hatcher is the person who finds that part within you, that helps you connect with your creative self to what you were born to do,” said Roe. “She can find a gift inside of you that you didn’t know you had.”