‘Art Walk’ expanding horizons

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Media Operator Bill Block is a local guy, born and raised in Bristol, a 27-year ESPN veteran who is as quiet and steady as his name implies.

He’s unassuming, that is, until he’s asked about his photography, which has taken him around the world and to some very exotic locales.

“Sometimes, I’m more comfortable swimming with sharks than I am in Central Record,” he said at the opening reception of ESPN’s Art Walk, the campus-wide exhibit of more than 120 employee works.

Bill is also a passionate SCUBA diver, and he’s explored and photographed the Galapagos Islands for the hammerhead sharks; the Maldives in the Indian Ocean for whale sharks and manta rays; and Truk Lagoon in Micronesia, where he explored Japanese war ship wrecks and swam with gray reef sharks, a beautiful example of which is captured in the exhibition.

There’s an expanse of photo styles and subjects in the Art Walk, from a precise still life of timeworn railroad spikes by Technology’s Adam Hartley (“Rusty broken stuff is more interesting than shiny new stuff,” he said) to the mannerist portraits of athletes on the brink of movement by Digital Media’s Philip Dauria.

One of the most affecting images is by Lead Systems Engineer Fred Tullock: a portrait of his wife, Janice, during successful chemotherapy treatment, bald and smiling with eyes closed, exuding tranquility and hope as the photographer’s hands cradle her scalp from the corners of the frame.

Despite the predominance of photography, it’s not the only medium displayed. Visual works range from paintings and pencil drawings to cartoons and video.

Kirk Bauer, Senior Prepress Manager of ESPN The Magazine, contributed large pen and ink drawings on brushed aluminum that are simultaneously representational and abstract. There’s also pottery, an exquisite jewelry box and Ukrainian pysanky eggs by Amy Babec of Facilities, and a cake in the shape of a golf bag and clubs from Accounting Manager Katherine Salzo.

The Art Walk was conceived and coordinated by Designer Meaghan Fitzpatrick, and produced with a lot of help from a few co-workers and the Facilities Service Center.

Inspired by a similar event in a nearby town, Meaghan wanted a way for employees to display a dimension that might not be readily apparent in their day-to-day environment.

It’s worked.

Said Fitzpatrick: “I’ve heard from the artists that to be able to show a ‘human’ side to their peers, to be recognized for a talent outside of work, makes you feel a little bit special.”

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