New exhibition combining visual art and writing

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A page from the comic strip “Big Hero 101” by Open Door artist JD Hirst, whose works are featured in the exhibition at the Carnegie Gallery. Credit: Courtesy of JD Hirst

Vivid colors, intricate narratives and detailed drawings characterize “WRITING IS ON THE WALL”, the latest art exhibition on display at the Carnegie Gallery at the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

The exhibit, which opened on September 2 and will run through October 28, is a combination of written words and visual art, which, according to Claire Smith, program director at Open Door Art Studio & Gallery , makes the exhibit an excellent choice for the library. The gallery is a Columbus-based non-profit organization that provides creative support services and representation to artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to its website.

“A lot of our artists use words in somewhat unconventional ways, so there’s a bit more meaning you can put between words,” Smith said.

Smith said the studio gives its artists full creative control when it comes to interpreting the theme of the show. She said some of the artwork features singular words or catchphrases, while others are more story-based or even inspired by comics.

Smith said one of the featured artists, JD Hirst, who is on the autism spectrum, has a comic he’s been working on since he started coming to the studio included in the show. He created hundreds of pages of the comic strip “Big Hero 101”, from which they are taken for the exhibition.

“He’s got so much experience when it comes to these characters, their personalities, their strengths or their weaknesses,” Smith said. “He incorporates his own narrative, as well as Viking mythology and the Bible, and he kind of created this complex world. “

The exhibit is free to the public, underscoring Open Door Art Studio & Gallery’s commitment to accessibility in the arts, Smith said.

“It’s a great time for the kids to come in and see, ‘Oh, hey, you know I can do that,’” Smith said. “I firmly believe that art must be accessible to all and accessible to all. I really think everyone is an artist.

Melissa Combs, director of gallery development, said accessibility is important not only when it comes to exhibiting art, but also when it comes to helping their own artists to bring it to life. to create.

“A lot of them don’t have a place in their house. Some of them may live in other intermediate care facilities where they share a room with someone else, or they live in their family home and do not have access to studio spaces, ”Combs said. .

Because many artists lack the financial resources for projects, Combs said the gallery provides ceramics, a full kiln, and photographic equipment.

Combs said the exhibition was a great opportunity to expose the public to the work that Open Door Art Studio & Gallery artists create on a daily basis.

“The artists that we support, they have something to say,” Combs said. “Everyone does it, no matter what type of media they work with, so we absolutely want the community to see it and value their contributions. “

“THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL” is on display at the Carnegie Gallery of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, located at 96 S. Grant Ave. website.


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