On October 10, Wildwood’s newest Art in the Park exhibit, Park’s Pants, will open to the public. For 20 years, photographer Nancy Nolan photographed her son, Park, annually in the same pair of his father’s Levi’s. Dave Anderson’s documentary film focuses on Park’s “final” photo shoot. The exhibit is a portal to the inner workings of two artists, their subjects and their families.
Park was born prematurely and his early months inspired Nolan to photograph her son swaddled in a pair of his father’s denim blue jeans. Would he grow to fit them? What followed was an annual photo shoot documenting the physical, emotional and intellectual evolution of a boy named Park. Always compelling, the images bring the viewer through Park’s emergence into manhood and his own creative essence as a writer, theatre artist and filmmaker. Park’s Pants will be the first exhibit of Nancy’s highly personal work in a solely aesthetic, emotional, and educational way. The exhibit will focus on the intricacies of both photography and photographer. This summer, Anderson collaborated with Nolan to enter the intimate world of this mother-son bonding ritual and document on film what is expected to be the final photo shoot of Park’s pants.
The installation of photographs, images and projected film in the galleries of Wildwood Park for the Arts will evoke an emotionally powerful response.
A public reception and documentary screening will take place on October 15 at 6pm, and Nolan will be a guest on a special Tin Roof Project episode of Tales from the South before a live audience at Wildwood on October 22.
Thursday, October 15 at 6 pm – Opening Reception
Tuesday, November 10 – Tales from the South presents a Tin Roof Project featuring Nancy Nolan & Community Conversation: Art as Therapy
To purchase tickets, click here.
$15 General – Storytelling & Community Conversation Only
$30 Storytelling, Community Conversation, & *Dinner
Doors open at 6pm
Community Conversation will feature exhibiting artist Nancy Nolan, Dave Anderson, Park Lanford, Ken Clark of Chenal Family Therapy and others. Live music will be performed by Joshua Asante, lead singer in Amasa Hines and Velvet Kente bands.
*Dinner available at $15 additional cost. Includes Southern homestyle meal of fried catfish, hushpuppies, french fries, coleslaw, and drink. Beer & Wine available for purchase.
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Wildwood Park for the Arts wishes to thank all of the donors and the Mid-America Arts Alliance for their support of Park’s Pants.
A Letter from Nancy
Park’s Pants grew out of my complete wonder, love and awe for my son Park. It
began with the pregnancy. There were complications, and his birth was difficult
for both of us. Confined to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), I sat at my tiny
son’s side for two excruciating months. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. His
fight for life inspired me, and I soon realized I needed to document his journey,
both for myself and for him.
I’m not a writer—I’m a visual person. So, I chose to do this without words. I
decided to make a series of images, one each year. I felt there needed to be
some constant in each image, and I wanted it to have some significance, so I
decided on a pair of jeans that belonged to his father—a pair of Levi’s that at first
swallowed him up and that he would one day grow into.
My medium is photography, and my method was born out of my need to
document Park. I promised myself I would not control the shoots—I would not
control Park. Whatever happened, happened. There would be no judgment of
myself or of my son in the work. Not wanting the distraction of color, I
photographed in black & white. And, wishing for the quiet, slow pace of
introspection I chose to shoot with large format cameras.
Over the years—as my son has grown—this project has taken on unexpected
depth and complexity. I acted on instinct when I began the series and later came
to realize my own relationship with this process was apparent in the images.
I wanted to record and explore this life that Park fought so hard for. And, we did
it together. This unsuspecting child who gave so much of himself to the project
rarely complained about putting those jeans on year after year for his mother.
He is nineteen now. The jeans, once enveloping him like the sea, are now snug.
It’s a natural ending, but also just the beginning.
— Nancy Nolan
Wildwood Park for the Arts, Nancy Nolan & Dave Anderson would like to thank the following contributors who helped make Park’s Pants possible!
Park’s Pants, sponsored by
Park Hill Collection
Howse Little Rock
Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau
Arkansas Arts Council
Arkansas Community Foundation
Deltic Timer Corporation
With the Generous Support of
Bear Hill Interiors
Murphy Group Inc.
Friends of Nancy & Dave
Carol & Witt Stephens
Table Setters Inc.
Bedford Camera & Video
Special Thanks to our Opening Reception Sponsors!
Whole Foods Market Little Rock