paints Rowan’s history
Marie Natale ’75, ’79
No task is too tall for artist
Marie Natale ’75, ’79. After creating seven five-foot-tall
beach-themed lighthouses for “Beacons By the Sea,” a
lighthouse parade held in Atlantic City over the summer, Natale
got a call from Rowan University Foundation Executive Director
Phil Tumminia M’69 to create an eighth lighthouse, this one
especially for her alma mater. “I was absolutely thrilled
with the idea,” she said. “To create something for
the University meant so much to me.”
The fiberglass lighthouse depicts Native Americans, the Whitney Glass
Factory and Rowan’s Bunce and Laurel halls and Hollybush mansion.
The image of President Johnson meeting with Soviet Premier Aleksei
Kosygin in 1967 is shown along with paintings of the present-day
campus and newer buildings, such as Campbell Library and Rowan Hall.
A path decorated with lyrics to the University’s Alma Mater
winds around the base.
“The lighthouse expresses Glassboro’s history in addition
to Rowan’s roots,” said Natale. “History is something
we need to learn from, respect and embrace. That is what I tried
to capture in this piece.”
Natale, who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees
in art education at Glassboro, remembers who helped her along the
way. “Kumiko Murashima and Dr. Jim Wright were my mentors,” she
said. “They were supportive and encouraging, yet challenging.
I felt they always had time for me.”
After graduating, Natale taught art in Brigantine Public Schools
and Pleasantville High School. Seeking new challenges, she launched
and managed a designer children’s clothing line. After 10 years,
Natale put aside her business to become a freelance artist specializing
in industrial design. “It was time to move on,” she said.
The Egg Harbor Township resident continues to flourish as an artist.
She held her first one-woman show at the Galloway Cultural Arts Center
and designs holiday gift items for Walmart. “To see something
you created mass produced and on shelves in a store is truly amazing,” she
Natale hopes to do more with her paintings and personal artwork. “As
an artist you’re putting yourself out there and hope people
will find your work appealing,” she said. “You just have
to work hard, be open for anything and go from there.”