Upon hearing the news of the passing of longtime APSU art professor and sculptor Olen Bryant in July, Clarksville resident Jim Mann understood much like anyone what exactly the University and the Clarksville community alike lost.
Olen Bryant is the man behind “The Sentinel” which is more commonly known as “The Green Man” by the student body at large.
Bryant’s artwork is displayed across the U.S.
According to an article in The Leaf Chronicle, Bryant’s work is featured in the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, the Tennessee State Museum of Art, and the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville.
His work has also been displayed at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and at the Governor’s Mansion during the Phil Bredesen administration.
According to a press release, Jim Mann said, “It’s people like Olen who find ways to reach out and help students that really make an impact at a University.”
In the spirit of contributors such as Bryant and other former faculty, Mann and his wife Dottie recently donated generously to APSU to establish the James T. and Dorothy Mann Endowment.
According to a press release, the endowment will be used to create the James T. and Dorothy Man Wall of Legacy, paying tribute to Art + Design faculty that have, like Bryant, impacted the lives of the department’s students.
The awarding of the donation coincides with the evolution of the department, for the opening of the new Art + Design Building this past spring affords the resources and space needed for what Mann desires for the Wall of Legacy to represent for past and future students.
According to a press release, “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 APSU through their own words and those of the people they impacted.”
According to a press release, 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.
Every year, attending Art + Design faculty will vote on a former faculty member to be honored, with Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts (CECA) interns interviewing the honoree and assisting them in creating a multimedia presentation of their story and work.
Near the Wall of Legacy, there will be an Outstanding Alumni plaque, honoring the accomplished Art + Design alumni.
According to a press release, Mann said his hope is that alumni can one day return to campus and show their children how the faculty that make up APSU’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, according to a press release. “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.’”