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Spirit of St. Louis exhibit headed to West campus in October


June 13, 2011

Just like his grandfather before him, Arizona State University graduate Nova Hall knows the value of a good test run.

And with that preliminary effort successfully completed in Sept. 2009, the younger Hall is preparing to unleash a new-and-improved, vastly expanded artistic exhibit honoring granddad Donald A. Hall, designer of the custom-built monoplane flown solo by Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, and the American aviator fondly known as “Lucky Lindy.”

Nova Hall’s exhibit, “Flying Over Time: The Spirit of St. Louis Exhibit,” is scheduled for a two-day showing at ASU’s West campus, Oct. 21-22, in the La Sala ballroom in the University Center Building.

“The previous show was successful because of the art and how I had blended history, photographs and actual 1927 newspapers into my painting,” says Hall, who earned his B.A. in integrative studies from ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences in 2010. “In contrast, this show is expanded and displays much more of the content that exists, which is the inspiration for the art and the show and the performance.”

The show is endorsed by the New College Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Sciences as a primary example of the university’s commitment to creativity, entrepreneurship and enhanced connections to the community.

The October exhibit will mark the liftoff of what Hall hopes will be a national and even international traveling show.

With additional support from the Charles A. and Ann Morrow Lindbergh Foundation, “Flying Over Time, according to hall, “is like nothing on the market; it is part museum exhibition, performance space, corporate events venue and educational workshop.” Hall says this year’s exhibit is designed to teach art, history and sciences through the inspirational story of the Spirit of St. Louis, which made the first-ever non-stop flight from New York to Paris and earned Lindbergh the Orteig Prize, a $25,000 award offered by New York hotelier Raymond Orteig to the first allied aviators to make such a trans-Atlantic crossing.

As groundbreaking and interdisciplinary as the planned exhibit is the story of the younger Hall’s introduction to the aeronautical engineering genius of his grandfather, who designed Lindbergh’s craft in just 60 days as the competition for the Orteig Prize heated up, attracting many designers and teams to the fray.

“It was in 1999 and we were living in Sedona,” recalls Hall, who has earned ASU award recognition for his art and research and also published “Spirit and Creator: The Mysterious Man Behind Lindbergh’s Flight to Paris” in 2002 as a testament to the senior Hall’s accomplishment. “We were moving and I was in the garage going through boxes, making decisions on what to keep, what to toss. Behind a couple of boxes I found an old steamer trunk.”

The trunk, carrying the initials DAH, belonged to Hall’s granddad. Inside was what the artist calls “a treasure trove of history.” Blueprints of Hall’s collaboration with Lindbergh, thought to be long gone, along with photos and correspondence between the two were found inside the trunk. It put him on a fast track into researching his grandfather’s historic work.

“What was inside the trunk became the basis for ‘Spirit and Creator,’” says Hall. “There are pieces from the discovery that are now in museums in France and in other places. Some were auctioned locally to get the book off the ground.
“The discovery became the book, the book became the art.”

Hall describes his artistic styling as a fusion between surrealism and pop art colors. Almost all of his art features an element of collage, including one in which he has embedded an original headline recounting Lindbergh’s Paris landing from the front page of the May 21, 1927, New York Herald.

He is excited about the anticipated growth of the exhibit in October.

“Things attendees should notice that make this exhibit truly unique included expanded environmental controls and efficient lighting,” says Hall. “Additionally, the size of the space has increased many times; the overall purpose of the exhibit has changed completely.

“This travelling exhibition is the next evolution in our team’s goal of reaching more and more audiences and sharing with them this incredible, historic experience,” adds Hall. “We have quite a few surprises for the attendee that will mark this show as a truly integrative experience.”

One thing is certain regarding the West campus exhibit – Hall says his grandfather’s photos, taken at nearly every step of the design and construction process, are at the core of the show and its teaching focus. Too, the show will reflect the inspiration Hall has felt through his grandfather’s legendary vision, an inspiration first evidenced in the pages of his book, “Spirit and Creator.”

“Nova Hall has certainly inherited the ‘Spirit’ from Donald Albert Hall,” writes Spirit of St. Louis expert and aviation historian Ev Cassagneres in the introduction of the work. “He has come as close as humanly possible, 75 years later, to telling precisely who his grandfather was.”

And what would granddad and Lucky Lindy think of the exhibit coming to the West campus in October?

“I think they would be amazed,” says Hall. “What I’ve done is attempted to breathe life into the story of a plane that changed the world, using that story to inspire kids and the next generation to innovate, create and look up. I know they both felt education and the environment were important. I just want to teach and be able to inspire those that attend this exhibition.”

Hall and co-project lead Andrew Brown, a graduate of ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business, have assembled a team of experts to assist in the logistics and business model of the exhibit, including Jim Batz, Small Business Administration (SBA) Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE); Lyle Dillie, a New College Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance graduate; and Paul Heikens, an ASU alum with a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies and M.A. in architecture.
For more information on the October exhibit, email flyingovertime@gmail.com.