The Terrapin Beer Company’s walls will soon be adorned with local painter Maria Nissan’s work as part of a tribute to the Classic City marking her departure from Athens.
After returning to school at the University of Georgia in 2010, Nissan was set on a path where she fell in love with the world of art, discovering “a craft I couldn’t leave.” Deeply rooted in the Athens community through volunteer work, art shows and more, her investment in the town grew into inspiration for her work.
“I got into Georgia, got my grades up, and when I moved here I dedicated myself to this community,” Nissan says. “I don’t think without the Athens art-based community and everybody being so open to new ideas and changes, seeing new artist and musicians around every turn with their own styles, that I would be where I am today.”
Since then, Nissan has graduated from UGA and continues to create large murals, often with rich Athenian inspiration, featuring images like the Tree That Owns Itself, the water tower and signature railroad tracks, the Georgia Theater, Classic Center and other locations that “only Athens has.”
The upcoming Terrapin event is the product of Nissan’s acceptance into the Studio Art Centers International Florence, an art school in Florence, Italy. Knowing that she would soon be leaving to begin her studies abroad, Terrapin reached out to Nissan to create abstract murals, with eight paintings designed specifically for Terrapin’s walls. Her final Athens show, it too is a compilation of years of dedication and connection to Athens, and will feature collaborative pieces created by Nissan and those she says have strongly impacted her life and work here.
“I’ve always felt like my relationships and attachments to my friends have made them my family,” Nissan says. “This has been my everything for so long, and now that I know I’m leaving I want to have a part of them included [in the paintings].”
The Terrapin exhibit will run on April 3rd, featuring a series of paintings entitled “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings,” running from April 1 to May 2. For $12 audiences get a tour, while other “art lovers can come for free” and to inspect the work, which Nissan has for sale. Terrapin will also be throwing a birthday reception for Nissan on April 3, from 1:30-3:30, to further celebrate her accomplishments. Nissan has also encouraged donations to cover the tuition and cost of living she will encounter upon moving to Italy, and is taking money through a GoFundMe.
Nissan will be profiled in-depth in the next print issue of Ampersand, set to hit stands in late April. This will include coverage of the show at Terrapin, as well as look further into the life, inspirations, and impact Nissan has had regarding the Athens art scene.