From Italy with Love

Coming from the art mecca of the world, it only makes sense that Mina Hall is a key player in the Lansing fine art scene. Hall was recently awarded the People’s Choice Award in Lansing Art Gallery’s City Streets exhibit for her painting titled “Enigma.” Her painting was among 80 others on display along Washington Square and Michigan Avenue. Her inspiration for the piece came from masks she saw in the window while in Venice. “They were always in my mind,” Hall said. “You have to use your imagination. The painting shows two puppets with life as a masquerade — sometimes happy, sometimes tragic. My painting is meant to represent life and make people think.” Born and raised in Taranto, Italy, Hall arrived to Lansing—coming to America for a new adventure—in 1963 when there was no art scene. It was a huge cultural shock for Hall, and she was ready to return home. Two things entered her life, however, prompting her to stay. She got involved with the early stages of the Lansing Art Guild, and she met her husband, John. “I was happy because something made me feel like this was my home,” she said. “When I started loving my husband, I loved everything here.” Hall is now a member of both the Lansing Art Guild and the Mid-Michigan Art Guild and is determined to bring a larger fine art culture to the community. “I do my best to promote fine art in Lansing,” she said. One way she does that is through her art classes, which she teaches out of her home. She receives all of her students solely through word of mouth and has been teaching for 30 years without ever an empty class. “I call my students my family,” she said. “My students are very serious, and they all enjoy my class because they know I want them to do well. I teach because I have to practice myself, and I don’t want to practice alone. Fine art is in my blood and so is teaching. I love it.” Hall’s skill as an artist has won her national and international awards. One of her paintings was part of an exhibit at the Louvre in Paris, and she won a silver medal at the International Art Exhibit, M.C.A. in Cannes both occurring in 2005. Along with painting and teaching, Hall and her husband are currently writing a biography together about Hall’s life. In Italy, Hall was engulfed in an atmosphere of influential fine art, and now in Lansing she’s working to bring that same influence. In completing that passion, she said people have been very kind and helpful to her. And with her continuing dedication, she has seen the emergence of a fine art culture in Lansing — one that still has room to grow. “I’m happy Lansing has many galleries,” she said. “And Old Town even reminds me — with a little bit of imagination — of European streets.”

Tags: art feature, Italy, Louvre, Paris

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