TROY — There is still time to visit the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center’s exhibition “Imagining a Better World: The Artwork of Nelly Toll,” features 46 digital reproductions of artwork of Nelly Toll, a childhood survivor of the Holocaust.
The exhibit at the center, 301 W. Main St., Troy, will close July 10.
While 40 of the images are digital reproductions of drawings created as a child in hiding from the Nazis, six are contemporary paintings. The exhibition will be on view at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center at 301 W. Main St., Troy, from May 6 through July 10.
In 1943, a sympathetic Christian family hid Nelly Zygmunt and her mother from the Nazis in Lwòw, Poland. During their year of confinement, Nelly created five dozen brightly colored, detailed watercolor dreams of her ideal world. Her optimistic paintings are an important counterpart to the cruelty depicted by most children of the Holocaust.
The compassionate family that harbored the Zygmunts bricked over an outside window opening and placed a decorative rug over the interior. When visitors came to the apartment, Nelly and her mother were forced to stand on the ledge of the secret window.
After World War II, Nelly Toll immigrated to the United States. She pursued formal art training, earning a master’s degree in art and art history and education from Rutgers University. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and received a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Toll has published three books on the topic of the Holocaust and related art. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband, Ervin.
“Nelly dared to dream, imagining a better world that manifested in her creation of nearly 60 watercolor paintings,” said Alexandra Nicholis Coon, the Massillon Museum’s executive director. “This exhibition will present, for the visitors, selected images of her journey of hope and imagination.”
The Massillon Museum, which organized the Nelly Toll traveling exhibition, received the Ohio Museums Association Best Exhibition award in 2015 for “Imagining a Better World: The Artwork of Nelly Toll.” For this award, the Museum competed with Ohio institutions with operating budgets of more than $500,000. The traveling exhibition was made possible by funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The museum has also partnered with award-winning filmmakers diane estelle vicari and Robert Kirk to produce a documentary about Nelly Toll. This one-hour film combines vérité cinematography with rare archival footage, 3D animation of Nelly’s watercolors, and cutting edge virtual-reality recreations to tell this incredible story. Segments of the film will be presented within the traveling exhibition. For more information about the documentary go to www.imaginingabetterworld.com.
For more information, visit troyhayner.org or call (937) 339-0457.