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VISIONARY: Hawkins thanks all who helped create park

Janice Hawkins, First lady at Troy University, was the visionary behind the creation of a new International Arts Center and Cutlural Arts Park (named in her honor). The facilities were opened to the public on Friday, and hundreds of community leaders and students filled the amphitheater for the event. Above, Mrs. Hawkins speaks to the crowd while Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Artist Huo Bao Zhu and other dignataries listen.

Janice Hawkins, First lady at Troy University, was the visionary behind the creation of a new International Arts Center and Cutlural Arts Park (named in her honor). The facilities were opened to the public on Friday, and hundreds of community leaders and students filled the amphitheater for the event. Above, Mrs. Hawkins speaks to the crowd while Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Artist Huo Bao Zhu and other dignataries listen.

Troy University formally opened the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park and International Arts Center Friday afternoon with a dedication ceremony and concert at the park amphitheater.

The afternoon event was a celebration of the arts and the many who made a dream come true for First Lady of Troy University Janice Hawkins.

In his introduction of the university’s First Lady, Lamar Higgins, university board of trustee, quoted from Proverbs 31: “Strength and honor are her clothing and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

What comes out of the mouth is an indication of what is in the heart. Higgins said it is well known what is in the heart of Janice Hawkins.

Higgins spoke of the many ways that First Lady Hawkins has contributed not just to the arts on campus, but to athletics and academics and the Greeks and the entire student body. The list of contributions could fill a book, but the day’s celebration was about the arts, about the impact the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park and International Arts Center will have for now and far into the future.

But Hawkins readily gave credit to the many who contributed to the project.

“The project would not have been possible without so many,” she said. “I thank them all.”

Hawkins said the dream of turning a kudzu bowl into a beautiful park, an amazing green space where people could gather for culture events, from bluegrass to ballet was a longtime dream.

“I prayed for years for something like this,” she said. “I prayed and prayed, asking God to answer my prayers. And, when God answers prayers, you should thank Him. And, I am so thankful.”

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Hawkins humbly thanked the board for naming the park in her honor.

“I can think of no place on earth I would rather have my name reside,” she said.

Special guests at the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park Dedication were artists Nall Hollis and Huo Bao Zhu. Hollis has donated a large number of his artwork to the International Arts Center and Huo Bao Zhu had donated 100 terracotta warriors to the park and 11 other statuaries around campus.

“The Cultural Arts Park and International Arts Center are where “East meets West” at Troy University,” said First Lady of Troy University Janice Hawkins. “Students and guests will find an exceptional collection and international art that mirrors the global vision of Troy University.

The new Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park, located near the Chancellor’s residence and the New Hall dorm, includes an amphitheater, walking trails, lagoon and several  prominent art installations.

“Violata Pax Dove” by Troy native Nall Hollis is located in the Daniel Foundation of Alabama Plaza and is a symbol of both beauty and sorrow.  Throughout the park, 200 replica terracotta warriors by that artist Huo Bao Zhu are displayed in exhibits representing the famous excavations in China.

Inside the new International Arts Center, the Fred “Nall” Hollis Gallery features Nall’s works from the 1960 to today and the Huo Bao Zhu Gallery houses visiting exhibits. The Warriors Unearthed interpretive center by artist Frank Marquette explores the history behind the famous terracotta warriors. Funding for the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park was provided by the City of Troy, the Daniel Foundation, the Confucius Institute, Troy University and private donors.