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Painting commemorating Sept. 11 on permanent exhibit at university library

Most Americans were profoundly affected by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and Las Cruces artist Joan Zuhl is no exception.



Las Cruces artist Joan Talty and her painting entitled "9/11," which is on permanent display on the third floor of New Mexico State University's Zuhl Library.(New Mexico State University photo by Dennis Daily)

atching CNN nonstop for a few days, she said she was inspired to express her strong emotions through her art. The result is a contemporary painting, acrylic on canvas, entitled "9/11." The painting is on permanent display on the third floor of New Mexico State University's Zuhl Library.


Zuhl, whose professional name is Joan Talty, said she worked continuously on the painting until it was finished. Her largest piece of artwork to date, the three panels express her initial pain and anger at the attacks, the eventual resolution of her feelings into hope and faith and her belief in the energy and resilience of the American people, she said.

With her husband, Herbert Zuhl, Joan moved from New York City to Las Cruces in 1991. Manhattan, where the Zuhls ran a gallery for six years, has a special place in her heart, she said. The Zuhls returned to New York a month after the attacks, keeping a previously made appointment for Oct. 12.

Zuhl, who was exposed to music during childhood by her mother, originally aspired to a career as a pianist, and she studied music at Sarah Lawrence College. When she returned home from college, bedridden from an illness, she began to draw in bed. She credits her recovery to her drawing and said that throughout her life "art has made me well."

At the suggestion of both an uncle and a Sarah Lawrence sculpture instructor, Zuhl studied at the prestigious Art Students League of New York, whose alumni includes such noted contemporary artists as Georgia O'Keeffe, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollack.

Zuhl has some advice for aspiring artists. "Work hard, believe in yourself and don't be discouraged," she said. "Don't give up before the miracle." She added that it also is important to attend a good school and have good rapport with your instructors.

In addition to Zuhl's large painting "9/11," which is displayed in a public space, additional paintings by Zuhl are hung in offices in Zuhl Library and the university's Advancement Office. In March 2000, Joan and Herbert Zuhl pledged a donation of $3 million to New Mexico State University as a naming gift for what was then called the New Library.

Zuhl Library also houses and showcases the Zuhl Geological Collection, consisting of more than one thousand pieces of petrified wood, fossils and minerals. Zuhl describes the collection as God's art and nature's sculptures.

The painting and the geological collection are available for public viewing on a walk-in basis at Zuhl Library. For more information, call Library Dean Elizabeth Titus at (505) 646-1508.

Photo is available at http://ucommphoto.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/zuhl_joan.jpg.
CUTLINE: Las Cruces artist Joan Talty and her painting entitled "9/11," which is on permanent display on the third floor of New Mexico State University's Zuhl Library.(New Mexico State University photo by Dennis Daily)

Aug. 19, 2002