Lendon Noe has spent nearly her entire life in Jackson and Madison County.
She said on Monday to a group of about 200 gathered at City Hall for the unveiling of her legacy artwork dedicated to the Jackson-Madison County Bicentennial Celebration that the two greatest decisions her father made were marrying her mother and deciding to build their life in Jackson.
So it made sense that the lifelong artist and longtime art professor at Lambuth University would be commissioned to do a project celebrating the first 200 years of Jackson and Madison County, and she aced the interview process to become one of the two artists to do so.
“When Lendon came before the art committee with her proposal, she already had a sketch book and a vision with themes and statements she wanted to get across,” said Elaine Christian, the chair of the Bicentennial Commission. “And her vision was really something we wanted to see come to life.”
It turns out even if Noe hadn’t been selected, her vision would’ve still come to life.
“I’d been working on a project with my own genealogy, and then this project came along, and I said, ‘Maybe this is what I’m supposed to be working on with some of the information I’ve gathered,’” Noe said during a press conference after the unveiling. “So I had the sketch book started before the interview and was already ordering supplies that I would need for the work because I’d already set my mind to do something – maybe not this big – and figure out how it would be displayed later.”
The project is a series of 26 panels that are displayed on the walls of the second floor of City Hall.
“We actually have two legacy projects that have been commissioned,” Christian said. “The other one will be at the Madison County Courthouse, and it will focus on the big events and the famous people of Madison County.
“Lendon Noe’s project focuses on the accomplishments and life of the every man of Jackson and Madison County over the past 200 years.”
Noe said she relied heavily on the historians of Jackson, historic works that center on the city and newspapers dating back to the early days of the settlement of the area to try to get a glimpse of what life was like at every state of Jackson’s first 200 years.
She said one thing that really resonated with her is that in its early days up until the 200 who were gathered to view her work, she saw the importance of community.
“Community happened last weekend at the Jackson International Food and Arts Festival,” Noe said. “It happens every day at The Lift.
“It happens at The Ned during its productions. Everything that theCo does is centered on community. When my days of teaching at Lambuth were done, a place I found community was at the Community Café. Jackson is large enough that we have a lot of the amenities of a larger city, but we’re still small enough that community really becomes an important factor in our lives, and it always has been.”
Brandon Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org