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Exhibit from Student Recovering from Brain Injury Among New Displays at Arts Garage

originally published: 04/14/2024

Exhibit from Student Recovering from Brain Injury Among New Displays at Arts Garage

“Reminder” by Joseph Podlesnik, an adjunct professor of Visual Arts at Stockton, is one of the photographs on display at the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University until June 23.

(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Three unique exhibits — including one by a Stockton University student recovering from a traumatic brain injury and another by a self-taught, Philadelphia-area artist known for creating large-scale sculptures — debuted recently at the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University.

The exhibits by Maryn Olson and Kambel Smith are paired with a photography exhibit by Stockton Visual Arts Adjunct Professor Joseph Podlesnik titled “The Pain, Boredom and Euphoria of Looking.”  Olson’s exhibit will run until April 28, while the displays by Smith and Podlesnik will be at the Arts Garage until June 23.

Olson’s artwork has been part of her healing process from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) she suffered at 21 after falling from a skateboard in upstate New York. The fall caused a cranial hemorrhage, a brain contusion and several broken neck bones. The Visual Arts major from Mays Landing also suffered a stroke while she was treated at the hospital. After several surgeries, Olson struggled to stand up and move her left side. She has spent several months in physical, occupational recreational and speech therapy.

Exhibit from Student Recovering from Brain Injury Among New Displays at Arts Garage

(LEFT) Stockton University Visual Arts major Maryn Olson sits in a studio with some of her artwork, photo by Susan Allen/Stockton University. (RIGHT) “I Remember” by Maryn Olson

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“Since the beginning of this journey, it has been a wild roller coaster of highs and lows,” she said. “Art making has always been an interest of mine since I was little, but it never benefited me as much as it does as I heal from my TBI. I can paint my frustrations and sadness away.”

Smith has had no formal training in art or architecture, and his sculptures, created primarily out of found materials such as cardboard or foam, feature representations structures like the Liberty Bell and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia. He was diagnosed with autism as a teenager and began making art to express his worldview. But he instead likes to call himself an autisarian, or a person born with abilities due to autism.

“Although my journey has been a complicated one, it gives me peace of mind and heart to realize I have always been an artist,” he said. “By using works of art to express how I see the world, I hope to impact the way others see it as well.”

Exhibit from Student Recovering from Brain Injury Among New Displays at Arts Garage

“Liberty Bell” by Philadelphia artist Kambel Smith is part of Smith’s exhibit at the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University. It will be on display until June 23.

Podlesnik lives in Phoenix and exhibits his work nationally and internationally. In addition to teaching at Stockton, he is Facilitator Lead for the Digital Photography Cornell Certificate Program.

He said the Arts Garage’s exhibit of color and black and while photos involves “some personal physical discomfort, degrees of boredom and the euphoria I experience while capturing photographs and exploring their effects in post-processing.”

“For me, the camera lens depicts perspective too easily, which is why I capture and develop photographs that often frustrate readable perspectival space,” he said.

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All of the exhibits are free and open to the public. The Noyes Garage, 2200 Fairmount Ave., in Atlantic City is open from 11:00am to 6:00pm, Wednesday to Sunday. For more information, go to or call 609-626-3805.

Stockton University is ranked among the top public universities in the nation. Our more than 9,000 students can choose to live and learn on the 1,600-acre wooded main campus in the Pinelands National Reserve in South Jersey and at our coastal residential campus just steps from the beach and Boardwalk in Atlantic City. The university offers more than 160 undergraduate and graduate programs.



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