Artist explores lives of 19th century Mormon women

Painter Sue Hansen of Hamden will be displaying her multimedia installation “PIECES: The Women of Nauvoo” at the Performing Arts Center of Connecticut, 18 Lindeman Drive in Trumbull, for a one-time showing on Friday August 22 at 7 p.m.

The work explores the lives of 19th century Mormon women in Western Illinois where the fledgling religious movement briefly established itself before being driven west.

Hansen draws inspiration from preserved journals, traditional hymns, and her own family's Mormon pioneer heritage to craft a stunning visual and tactile homage to this largely forgotten period of American frontier history. Nauvoo was initially founded by early converts to Mormonism on the site of a tepid swamp on the banks of the Mississippi River. In less than ten years, the town grew rapidly, and at one point surpassed Chicago as the largest city in Illinois. However, political opposition to the burgeoning Mormon presence in the state led to the eventual expulsion of the city's inhabitants. The Nauvoo Temple, the heart of Mormon spiritual life, was burned and the Mormons were forced to flee across the frozen Mississippi.

Sue Hansen received a BFA from Brigham Young University and an MA in painting from the University of Wisconsin, Superior. She has enjoyed a broad freelance career including working as an illustrator, graphic designer, scenic painter, and photo stylist. She has also created and shown her paintings and collages in Utah, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Connecticut. She has taught drawing and design to private students and will now be offering courses at the Performing Art Center of Connecticut in the fall.

Hansen will draw on her experience as a working artist as well as her classical art training to provide students the foundational skills they will need to realize their individual artistic vision. The artistic environment at PACC provides the ideal setting for this type of instruction. Students of all levels will be tasked with building visual projects inspired by the work of the dance, musical theater, and voice departments at PACC.  A student art show will cap the experience.

The admission to this installation is free and will include a brief presentation by the artist on her work, upcoming classes, and teaching philosophy.