Art exhibit opens at the Bernice Coulter Templeton Gallery

Artist Laura Hunt is standing next to the portrait purchased by Texas Wesleyan University. (Chiara Watson)

Hosted by Texas Wesleyan University at the Bernice Coulter Templeton Gallery, artist Laura Hunt showcases her collection “Our Community, Our Neighbors.” from Feb. 17 to April 24. Entrance to the gallery is free and open to the public between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Coordinator of the Bernice Coulter Templeton Art Studio Rueben Gonzales feels that this art should be seen and encourages students and faculty alike to attend and use the exhibition as a tool to discuss what is happening in our community and what we can do to help those around us.

“It is important that those of us who are privileged enough to work at and attend a private university be aware that just down the road there are those who may be struggling in their daily lives,” Gonzales said.

This exhibition is in collaboration with Tarrant County Homeless Coalition.

There are multiple ways students, faculty and staff can get involved to support the cause. A poster with QR codes is available for visitors to scan and purchase a portrait or poster, or make a donation. This can also be done by visiting the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition website. Some pieces have already been purchased, including the largest piece shown at the exhibition purchased by Texas Wesleyan University.

Displayed at the gallery is a poster that thanks the sponsors and gives visitors a way to purchase or donate using the QR codes. (Chiara Watson)

When attending the exhibition, visitors can expect to see bright, colorful and contemporary portraits throughout the gallery. Hunt says that a running theme in her collection “Our Community. Our Neighbors.” is using the favorite color of each subject as the background color of their portrait. The subject of the painting deciding the background color brings an element of humanity connecting the subject to the art.

Portraits in Laura Hunt’s collection include a wide variety of subjects including Sue Ellen. (Chiara Watson)

Fourth year student and history major Casey Wilson often volunteers with Tarrant County Homeless Coalition and was moved by the artwork displayed in the exhibit. “This exhibit wonderfully captures the spirit of each story through the intimate artistic lens of Laura Hunt. It is impossible not to feel inspired by the hard work and determination of those who have or are currently using their experiences to bring about positive and focused change in our community,” said Wilson.

Each portrait is accompanied by a story that speaks about the subject in the art. What is noticeable is that these stories do not necessarily discuss why or how these people became homeless. This was intentional. Hunt says that this is because “the point of the project was to simply show their humanity.”

Hunt continued by saying, “…They’ve got likes and dislikes, they’ve got preferences, they’ve got talents and skills, like anyone else.” She wanted to focus not on what made them homeless but rather what made them who they are as an individual and so if homelessness came up in their story it was because they chose to speak about it.

The Bernice Coulter Templeton Gallery is located at 1415 Vaughn Blvd next to Black Coffee and is accessed through a door at the top of the ramp. To enter, simply ring the doorbell.