The Many Loves & Talents of Amy Nolan

Amy Nolan is a well-known artist around Paducah – those great murals on the walls of Max’s Brick Oven – yep, she painted them. She’s now helping those in need at the Family Service Society. She has travelled a lot but finds herself back in the place where it all started. Her granddaughter Nova is the light of her life. iMeet this talented and special lady…Amy Nolan.

Well hello there, Amy Nolan. Tell us about yourself…

I was born in Paducah to some very fine people! I graduated from Ballard County High School and headed to Western Kentucky University. I started off in a textiles major with a business minor, did my internship with Disney, then came back to school and changed my major to a Bachelor in Fine Arts. Needless to say my dad was thrilled! (NOT) So it took me a bit longer to get out of school. Those were some festive years! 

And then came the travelling?…        

After college I moved to Los Angles for a bit but realized quickly that LA was not for me. I got my first “real job” as an assistant buyer for Hess’s Department Stores in Cincinnati. They transferred me to Allentown, Pennsylvania.  I didn’t like it there either and I had one of those “working girl” moments. I solved a problem, but the men folk didn’t like a 25-year-old southern woman smarter than they were. One of them told me, “Why don’t you go back to Kentucky and skin opossum!”  - you can imagine my response!

Tell us about your family…

I met my husband in Brooklyn at a friend’s going away party. After about a year and half dating we decided to move to Paducah, buy two cars, get married then we were going to head to Nashville. (It was my favorite city - still is.) 

But we both got jobs with Players Casino (before it was bought by Harrah’s) and then came the first baby – and a second. We are still here! I have two grown boys, Gabe and Eli, and the light of my life granddaughter Nova. We also have two dogs - Raja and Sandy. 

When did you get back to your art?

When the boys were little, I painted a lot of murals starting with Max’s Brick Oven. Max’s in owned by Max and Judy Bastiani. Judy looked at me one day and said, “I hear you are an artist? Yeah, paint this!” (Pointing at a wall.) And every time Max went fishing, Judy would have me paint another wall! Before we knew it every wall at Max’s was painted!

My murals are in Max’s, Kirchhoff’s and The Range Restaurant at Harrah’s. They are among many others in private homes as well as works on canvas.

Tell us about your job at Family Service Society...

I love working at my new job – I’m the Director of Business Development for Family Service Society (FSS). On December 22 of this year FSS will celebrate its 90th Anniversary. FSS provides services to individuals and families in the Paducah-McCracken County area - resources to those in crisis need situations.  

For instance in the past year FSS provided food to 2016 unduplicated individuals. So far this year more than 87 households have received utility assistance and over 20 individuals had emergency dental services. We have also provided over $10k worth of help with prescription medications.

I know you guys could use the community's help with certain things. What's one thing that our readers could do to benefit the FSS?

I’m asking all your readers to make a donation to FSS. Even the smallest donations can make a big difference. Our agency has the ability to purchase food for just 19 cents per pound. This means a family of four can be fed, for as little as $25 a week! And we always need volunteers.

Do you still make time for your art?

My dining room is my studio now so I usually have a painting going. I don’t do many large murals anymore now that I am working full time. I mostly do commission paintings now and Nova and I paint together every time she comes to the house. 

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’ve always been a night owl. I think I’m more creative at night, but with a full time job I know better. I don’t recover as well as I used to with my seven hours!

Where would we find you at 10 pm on a Friday night?

 HOME!  Boring zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

What's your favorite song currently?

Leon Bridges – “River”

It touches my heart.  I lost my mom three years ago to ALS, and it hasn’t been easy. I hurt myself taking care of her, and let me say I would do it again to have her back. I had two back surgeries and a hip surgery to recover. It has changed the direction of my life. I no longer teach yoga which was hard to accept. My yoga now is different. Yoga means “to connect.” So my job at Family Service Society allows me to do just that! Plus Nova was born 23 days after mom passed and she was my shining light that got me through it all…and a lot of prayer!

Well, we’ll glad you’re still here in Paducah sharing your smile and your art with us, Amy. Thanks for playing on iList this week