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Rescue Mission Art Show Features Wide Variety of Talent

Curator Alison Hall talks about the “lovely” entries.

For the past five years the Roanoke Rescue Mission has held a juried art show, with the winning entries donated to the shelter’s permanent art collection. Last weekend’s awards ceremony featured nine winning entries, as chosen by curator Alison Hall, an art instructor at Hollins University.  Twenty-two artists entered 56 pieces, which were then whittled down to 34 by Hall, before she made her final selections.

Works from past winners are “hanging all throughout the mission,” said development director Lee Clark, who was grateful that local artists continue to support the show – and the Mission. “Life can be a struggle – giving is a blessing,” said Clark from the podium as several dozen people gathered for the awards ceremony on May 2. Residents actually chose one winning work, for the People’s Choice Award.

Local artist Colin Doughty, a graduate of the Roanoke Rescue Mission’s recovery program for those battling substance abuse, spoke about his first real exposure to art when he took lessons at the studio in the Mission. That’s where he learned about the art of making pottery – “throwing clay”

“Something inside just opened up…it was like a life-changing event,” said Doughty. Now he sells pottery at the Second Helpings gallery run by the Rescue Mission on Williamson Road and hopes to open his own studio soon.

The winning artists included Aileen Fletcher, Maria Grego, Donna Hancock, Betty Hancock Bright, Olivia Kershaw Smith, Larry Mitchell, Sally Mook, Jenny Ohs and photographer Barry Wolfe.

Mook is a five-time winner at the Rescue Mission’s Permanent Art Collection Awards competition. “I think the Rescue Mission does a wonderful service,” said Mook, who “never turns down a charity” when they ask for a painting. “I like to think that people enjoy what I do,” she added.

“All of the submitted work was quite lovely,” said Hall, who was especially taken by several paintings that reminded her of classic art she might have seen in Europe. “I really love art that has some type of humanity in it,” she noted. Winning artist Maria Grego’s piece had a “real honesty about it,” according to Hall.

Speaking to the artists on hand at the reception, Clark said “The people coming in … have been blessed by your art.”

By Gene Marrano
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