Mary Kistner,
the Artist

Mary Kistner was an artist specializing in collages. She would take a smattering of found objects -- stamps, feathers, old photos, leaves, pieces of textiles -- then turn them into something beautiful and meaningful.

Most of her pieces were inspired by people she knew, so she would use personal objects given to her which tended to make her collages intensely personal. Her philosophy of collage was the reflection of individuals lives. She used to say "Collage is a form of herding. It is herding bits and pieces of scraps of people's lives that may brightly light an unforgettable moment in time."

Mary was active in the local Gwinnett arts community. The Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth hosted Mary's first exhibit of her internationally appreciated collages.

Mary never walked her garden, or other woodlands, without looking down and pocketing something for future collage creations that she described as “…like life, a complex overlay of experiences, people, places, smell, sound and ideas”.

Around 1980 the Lawrenceville Junior Women’s Club recognized the need for an arts organization in Gwinnett and, in 1981, the nonprofit Gwinnett Council for the Arts was formed. Over the next several years that organization utilized donated space in Lawrenceville and began a fundraising campaign that culminated in the building of the Gwinnett Fine Arts Center that opened in 1993. With an expansion in 2000, the building was renamed the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts. Mary became the Visual Arts Coordinator and, according to Nancy Gullickson, the Executive Director of the Gwinnett Council for the Arts, was, in effect, the Center’s first Curator, responsible for the selection and hanging of artwork.

The Atrium of the Hudgens is named after Mary for her contributions to the arts.

Click a picture to see it full size.

Thank you to Hank Ohme, Suzy Downing, Lori Posner, Terry Dempsey,
Dale Higdon & Carol Hassell for all our spectacular pictures.