Episode #3

This week, I sit down with Professor William Nolan from the Atlanta College of Art.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bill tells us about his famous father, W.I. Nolan, who served as the 24th Lt. Governor of Minnesota and in Congress as a Representative from the 5th district. While doing a little follow-up research on his father I discovered something very interesting which Bill did not mention in our interview.

W.I. Nolan co-sponsored legislation back in 1930 which is now known as the Shipstad-Nolan Act, which was pioneering legislation which would shape our countries view of wilderness area for years to come.

Here as all know is the last great wilderness of its kind on the continent. Nowhere else can such beautiful lakes be found. Nowhere else can you find them close enough together to make what is known as a canoe country, and nowhere else is there so much beauty concentrated in one spot as here. It is the last area of its kind in the country. Are we going to sacrifice it to the ogre of commercialism?

So wrote Sigurd Olson, champion of northwoods wilderness conservation, in a 1929 letter to Congress in support of a bill that would ban logging on shorelines of lakes in the Superior National Forest including what would become the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. One year after Olson’s letter, Congress passed the Shipstad-Nolan Act, the first congressional act to specifically preserve wilderness.

Seventy-three years later, the Superior National Forest—including part of the BWCAW – contains over three million acres of rugged forested terrain, impenetrable bogs, countless lakes and over 2,250 miles of streams. Living within is a diverse array of wildlife including loons, lynx, bobcat, pine marten, black bear, moose, birds of prey from eagles to osprey and the largest population of timber wolves south of the Canadian border.

Bill also speaks about his mother, who was years younger than his father, and her devotion to a teenaged boy who didn’t know to appreciate such devotion at the time.

Bill reminisces about his career as an art professor and his travels which took him from Minnesota to Washington, then Nova Scotia, Kansas City, and eventually Atlanta. He shares with us, his favorite artwork, which I will be posting here at RetroMental as soon as I receive it.

An accomplished artist who has worked in painting, computer imagery, and experimental sound, Bill Nolan has spent over half a century either creating artwork or teaching others how to hone their own skills.

Running time for this interview is 45 minutes and 28 seconds. The interview was done with the VN-960PC Olympus Digital Voice Recorder, with the noise cancelling microphone.

This week we have two sponsors for the show. Insignificant Thoughts and Buttercup Mercantile. I thank them for sponsoring the show.

Of course, our opening theme song is “Tracked In Mud”, by Cory Davies, and the music played in the middle of the podcast is “SHABD #5” by Bill Nolan.

Now sit back, relax, and take a journey back in time, while we get RetroMental.

Episode #3

3 Responses to “Episode #3”

  • Mark L.Williamson:

    Funny how the world is… I was fortunate enough to have Bill Nolan as my Design Teacher and more profoundly, my Experimental Sound Teacher at Atlanta College of Art, back during the early eighties. His principles and influence still reside in my music today. As now, I’m working in Government and gaining fuel to fight for a Conservatory for Nature here in Florida. In reading about the Shipstad-Nolan Act, I never thought that there would be a relation of Father and Son but delighted to know this about my brush with greatness with Bill and his teachings, and his Father for protecting one of the last great places in the world.

  • Leah:

    Bill Nolan is a wonderful man and a true artistic visionary. I had the honor of working as his assitant at The Atlanta College of Art for 2 years, and was in many of his classes. He has been by far the most influential professor I’ve ever had, and will continue to be an influence on me as an artist and person.