March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Painter Mina Greco Hall takes top prize in Lansing Art Gallery's 'City Streets' show


Tuesday, Sept. 27 — When she first came to Michigan in the early 1960s, Mina
Greco Hall found little in the way of an arts scene in Lansing. But after
nearly five decades of teaching and painting and working with artists, she has
watched the arts thrive here.

Hall, who was born and raised in Taranto, Italy, recently
won the People’s Choice Award in Lansing Art Gallery’s “City Streets” exhibit
for her work, “Enigma.”

An accomplished painter, Hall said her painting of two dancing
puppets was inspired by masks she saw in a window in Venice; later, she saw
similar masks in the department store TJ Maxx. “They talk to me,” she said. “They are puppets. They have no
eyes, no head.”

She said she was inspired by the masks because they can be
both tragic and “sometimes can be beautiful.” Masks are used by criminals and in masquerades, Hall said,
adding that “masquerade can be happy or tragic. I used that as life.”

She also said she doesn’t just try to paint a little flower,
but tries to paint things that people don’t paint: “Do something out of the ordinary.”

Hall explained that artists in Italy have to study and
have a 2- to 3-year apprenticeship before they can call themselves artists. Her paintings are abstract, she said, but they have to have
a balance and there has to be a reason for everything in the painting.


For instance, Hall said, in “Enigma”
the ribbons on the top of the one mask match the ribbons on the arm of the
other puppet. “Have to give it a
balance,” she said. “There must be a reason why the artist paints a painting
that way.”

Hall’s painting was displayed in “City Streets” exhibit,
along with 80 other artworks along the public walkways of Washington Square and
Michigan Avenue. Along with the award for “Enigma,” Hall has received numerous
awards for her paintings internationally, most recently receiving a silver
medal at the International Art Exhibit, M.C.A., at Cannes, France.

 Hall and her husband John are working on publishing a
biography due out sometime next year called “From Italy to America with Love.”