Category Archives: Nicole M.

One Penn Sculpture, Revisited

By Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

On a recent day trip with friends to visit a few art museums in Washington, D.C., I saw a familiar sight. This sculpture, on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is the roughly two-foot-tall “King Solomon” by Alexander Archipenko. I noticed it and stopped. “I’ve seen this before,” I said. “But bigger. Way bigger. I think it’s somewhere on the Penn campus.”

But where? I could not remember, so I snapped this photo for reference and made a mental note to keep my eyes open for it.

Solomon-DC

“I shall call him ‘Mini-Me.'”

Solomon-DClabel Back at Penn the following week, I was on my way to a meeting when I saw it. Eureka! There it was on 36th Street between Locust Walk and Walnut Street, and I was right. It is way, way bigger.

Solomon-Penn

Ta-dah!

For more on the King Solomon sculpture in particular, check out this Frankly Penn blog post by Bart Miltenberger. But do yourself a favor and take a moment to learn about some of Philadelphia’s other outdoor sculptures – where they are, what they represent, and who brought them from concept to reality – from the Clothespin to the China Gate, from various memorials and tributes to our own beloved “Covenant” in Superblock, known more commonly among students and alumni by (ahem) a slightly different name. Enjoy.

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Spring In My Step

By Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

On my way to work, I sometimes walk through the beautiful courtyard between Vance Hall and the McNeil Building. I am grateful that, in recent days, this path has revealed the promise of spring. My favorite part of the transition from the season of gray and white to that of blue and green is the dazzling display of flowers blossoming on the trees. I never tire of these lovely and fragrant halos; the impression is always so stunning that it offers an immediate boost to my spirit. After the winter that we have endured here in Philadelphia, I believe that all of us have earned the pleasure of witnessing the trees as they adorn themselves to celebrate the arrival of spring.

The beginning stages are captured below.

Here they come...

Here they come…

And they're off!

And they’re off!

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ARTiculture: Philadelphia Flower Show 2014

by Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

My interest in art has been rather well documented. So, though flowers may be pleasant enough on their own, the Philadelphia Flower Show became doubly appealing thanks to its 2014 theme: “ARTiculture: where art meets horticulture.” What does this mean? It goes a little something like this:

For fans of Piet Mondrian.

And this:

Inspired by Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny.

And that is just a taste. Beyond the fabulous, large displays, which I expected, I encountered something entirely new to me. Did you know that pressed flower art is a thing? I did not, but it turns out there are societies and guilds devoted to it. And I don’t mean pressing a flower and framing it. I mean taking pressed flowers and turning them into something else. A new creation. A work of art. For example:

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I truly thought this was a painting at first. Surprise! It’s pressed flowers! If only Soylent Green had been pressed flowers.

I had never seen anything quite like this. Scroll down to see more, and enjoy! For an even better view of these, and all of the fascinating plant life that you would expect from the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society (including herbs, hairy cacti, and yes, FLOWERS EVERYWHERE), get thee to the Philadelphia Convention Center by this Sunday, March 9 and celebrate one of Philadelphia’s most beautiful traditions.

P.S. I bought a bonsai tree at the show! It lives in my office at Penn now, so I have named it BENsai. :)

And now for more stunning pressed flower art:

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Penn colleague, alumni volunteer and ARTIST . . .

Author: Kristina Clark

Nicole Maloy, W’95, is one of my colleagues in Alumni Relations. She is the Director of the Multicultural Outreach program. I thought I’d share a post about her simply because she is interesting!

Nicole not only works in Alumni Relations, she is a very active volunteer on Penn’s Association of Alumnae Board, members with whom I work closely. This post is not about Nicole’s role as an employee or as an alumna however, this is about Nicole’s personal creativity. For example and most recently, Nicole taught a few of her Alumni Relations colleagues how to knit. She is a patient teacher (for which we are most grateful) and now my ten-year old daughter wears a beautiful purple knit hat that I finished last month. Nicole has many talents — she’s a dancer, a singer, an athlete, and most certainly an artist, as confirmed by being chosen last week to exhibit her portrait drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. This honor is what I wanted to share with you.

Here’s the story . . . Nicole once wrote a Penn Alumni Blog post about exploring art resources in Philadelphia (includes a photo of her at age 17 with several jean jackets that she painted for her high school classmates in the late ’80s and early ’90s). One resource that she had not yet taken advantage of is the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the first school of fine arts in the United States. Its origin dates from 1791, when Penn was still located at 4th & Arch Streets.

In fall 2013, Nicole took a weekly evening class called “Intermediate Portrait Drawing” through PAFA’s Continuing Education program. Students who had been enrolled in CE classes or workshops from spring 2013 through spring 2014 were invited to submit artwork for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Continuing Education Programs Annual Juried Student Exhibition.

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PAFA received nearly 180 submissions, and 80 were accepted. Among them is Nicole’s piece, a portrait in charcoal entitled “Waiting,” which was drawn from a live model in class. If you would like to see it, along with the other 79 drawings, paintings, and sculptures, the exhibition runs from February 28 – April 6 in Gallery 128, Hamilton Building, 128 North Broad Street, at PAFA.

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Congratulations, Nicole!

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898-MELT

We have all called the number. Knowing what we’ll hear. That guy. That voice. You remember, even now, years later, as alumni: “The University is open and operating on a normal schedule.” I hated that guy.

Back in my day, we had phone receivers to slam down in disgust. Now, all students can do is think mean thoughts as they gently press “End Call” on their mobile phones. They may never know the evil glee of slamming down a phone. At least not until it’s time for an upgrade.

Penn never closes. It’s a thing. So much of a thing that, when it actually does close, part of us is incapable of believing that it is true. Yet, on Friday, January 3 I received a text message early in the morning to notify me that only “essential personnel” were required to go in that day. I have never been so pleased to be non-essential. I read it again. SNOW DAY!

The only time Penn closed during my entire time here as a student was during what I call “The Ice Storm of ’93.” I had never seen anything like it. Some strange mix of precipitation and temperature fluctuations left the entire city covered in about an inch of solid ice. The trees were beautiful, but things like, oh, walking or even standing still on an incline became both treacherous and highly entertaining. Want to learn patience? Walk a city block on an impenetrable sheet of ice. I guarantee that you will be in no rush to arrive anywhere, and you will develop near-meditative focus on each step. We would all laugh at how ridiculous we looked, how we flailed, how we slid. But arriving at any destination more than two steps away became cause for celebration.

On the downside, I found out that one friend of mine slipped, fell, and got a concussion. But he wasn’t walking to class at the time, because of the upside: classes had been canceled. Our buddy at 898-MELT had actually recorded a new message for us! I don’t remember what he said, but I do know I listened to it more than once, possibly gathering around the phone with my roommates to listen to it again and again. And despite having already received a text message on Friday, I still called the number. I was not the only one, because it is such a rare treat to hear anything – ANYTHING – other than the message playing once again today: “The university is open and operating on a normal schedule.” Sigh. I still hate that guy.

Seen on College Green in December. This is not from our recent “snow day,” but I think it captures the appropriate spirit.

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Penn Gymnastics Did What?

By Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

Hanging out at the bar with Carissa Lim, C’16, Penn Varsity Gymnastics team member. You may notice a subtle size differential. (Side note – this is me demonstrating the full extent of my skills on this apparatus.)

Penn Gymnastics will open the season TONIGHT at Hutch! Details in red later in this post.

This past summer I was leaning forward, elbows on my knees, eyes wide, completely unaware of anything but the superhero-like feats of strength and agility executed by the spandex-clad individuals on my television screen during an elite gymnastics competition. This sport has always had this effect on me, as it has on many other fans, partially because the things that gymnasts do are simply not possible. And yet, there they are, doing them anyway.

One particularly tiny athlete on the uneven bars did not need to pike or straddle or otherwise adjust herself quite as much as the others did when swinging around the low bar. It struck me that, if the “tall” gymnasts are 5’4”, and they have to make big adjustments, what would the fantastic gymnastic life have been like for me at 5’9 ½”, hanging from arms that are disproportionately long? I had never seen uneven bars up close, and now I was curious to know how I, quite literally, measured up to them.

Enter Penn Gymnastics Assistant Coach Kimberly Parsons, who opened the doors of the team’s brand new, shiny, spectacular new training facility to me (the Nalitt Family Gymnastics Center was made possible by a gift from Penn gymnastics alumna, and proud Penn parent, Beth (Wasserstein) Nalitt, MD). The facility was dedicated last month at Homecoming 2013, after the team was honored at halftime for winning back to back Eastern conference championships in 2012 and 2013.

Wait, what?

Yes, dear alumni. Penn Gymnastics took first place at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division I Championships twice in a row, which is a first for any school in the Ivy League. Two team members went on to win additional honors at the 2013 USA Gymnastics Collegiate Nationals.

Go Penn!

Go Penn!

I have to draw attention to this, because, as you know, the University of Pennsylvania does not offer athletic scholarships. When one of our Varsity teams shines as brightly as this, I want the world to know! I mean, check out this hardware. Penn Quakers earned these! I feel the need to high-five someone!

Oh, these? These are just a few of their championship rings.

Oh, these? These are just a few of their championship rings.

You must see some brief clips from the 2013 ECAC Championships this past spring. Seriously. Take a moment to watch these highlights of our Penn athletes dominating the competition on each apparatus.

Now I want you to see them in person so they can hear you cheer. If you are in Philadelphia, come support Penn Gymnastics TONIGHT, Friday, December 6 at 6PM at Hutchinson Gymnasium for the “Philadelphia Jamboree” against Temple University. Their next competition will be the GW Invitational in Washington, DC on Sunday 1/12 at 1PM, followed by one at home on Saturday 1/18 at noon against Illinois State. Check out the full 2013-2014 competition schedule to see when they might be near you so you can show your support wherever you can. And be sure to wear your red & blue! Let them know how proud you are. Mark your calendar for Saturday 3/22 at noon, when Penn Gymnastics will attempt to defend their title at the 2014 ECAC Division I Championships right here in Philadelphia at Temple University.

As for me, here I am grabbing the low bar, from my knees, arms still bent. To be fair, there is a woman on the team who is 5’7” tall, so perhaps there would have been hope for me afterall. And they can adjust the bar height a bit depending on the athlete. Still… let’s just say I’m glad I found the high jump.

NMwithLowBar

For updates, you can follow Penn Gymnastics on YouTube at UPennGym, Twitter @PennGym, and Facebook at Penn Gymnastics. Special thanks to the Penn Gymnastics coaching staff for their hospitality, and I send them my very best wishes for a wonderful 2014 season!

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Halloween Costumes: Not Just for Kids

By Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

Sadly, grown-ups have fewer options than kids do to participate in the “dress up as a _______” part of Halloween. What a shame! It is so much fun, and I am reminded of this every year when the Halloween-themed salsa dance parties roll around. It is a special – ahem – treat for me and hundreds of others to have a socially-acceptable excuse to get in costume. I took advantage of one of these last weekend at Philadelphia Salsafest, an annual weekend-long event with classes all day, performances in the evening, and dancing all night. (Side note – if you want a crash course in salsa dance, come to this in 2014, or do a search for your city and “salsa congress” to see what similar weekend-long options are available near you. Most have class sessions for dancers of all levels. You can also search for a city plus “salsa lesson” to find a club or a studio that can get you started in the mean time. Worth it!)

Storm

Storm’s cape, attached at the wrists. A good idea on paper. ;) Not so much for social dancing.

At the intersection of salsa dancing and Halloween, there is a catch: you have to be able to dance in your costume. Among other things, according to my own personal rules, such a costume must leave me with good range of motion in the arms and legs, must not endanger me or a dance partner when forced into rapid rotation, and must not inhibit my ability to cool off between songs in a hot room. The year I dressed up as Storm from the X-Men, I decided against strangulation and chose to forego the cape. It was a good decision. When the film Avatar came out, I was very excited about the possibility of dressing as the tall, blue character of Neytiri until I realized that my options were 1) blue body make up all over my arms, or 2) a high necked, long-sleeved, non-breathing blue body suit and blue makeup on my face. Option A could sweat off and/or leave my dance partners, and their thoughtfully-constructed costumes, covered in blue paint. Too inconsiderate. Option B would get makeup on people AND send me to the hospital with heatstroke. Too emergency roomy. I was a bit bummed, but ended up very happy to dance as The Bride from Kill Bill. It turned out that there were a few Neytiris at the party, so at least I was the only one in the costume I selected! That my yellow tracksuit left no remnants on anyone else, and didn’t make me pass out, were nice bonuses.

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Did you get your body makeup on my costume? Why I oughtta…

While I brainstormed for this year’s costume, I considered the whole “era/decade” concept. I had done several variations of the ‘80s, and I once dressed as a ‘60s-era hippie, but – eureka! – never the ‘50s. And what is more dance-ready than the ensemble of an American teenage bobbysoxer? Decision made. My dream would have been to dance to a salsa remake of “Johnny B. Goode” as a tribute to Back to the Future, but I and my poodle skirt still had a great time spinning the night away with other fully-grown humans masquerading as superheroes, puns, celebrities, animated characters, and more.

Halloween 2013! I haven’t worn saddle shoes since I was in kindergarten, so I’m just glad they come in my size.

Halloween 2013! I haven’t worn saddle shoes since I was in kindergarten, so I’m just glad they come in my size.

Do you have an outlet for your burning desire to get into costume as an adult? Next year you can dress up to answer the door to your trick-or-treaters. Or you can take up an activity that draws eccentric types who share your dream of walking around as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. You can also host – or encourage a friend to host – a Halloween party where costumes are expressly encouraged for the adults. Someone out there will thank you for the opportunity.

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