Agents of Hope and Change
An upcoming exhibition at the Artists Collective | Spartanburg offers acrylic paintings by Janis M. McElligott and fused glass by Judy Martin that capture selfless acts that people do every day to help each other, without judgement or agenda. “Helping, Caring, Kindness: Agents of Hope and Change” will be on display Oct. 6 through 29 in Gallery II of ACS.
An artists’ reception will be held Oct. 20 in conjunction with ArtWalk Spartanburg.
“Visitors to the exhibition will see storytelling through acrylic painting and fused glass with broad ranges in color, size and topic,” says McElligott. “The art captures the sad moments of being lost in depression, firemen that serve their communities beyond fighting fires, how animals are used to comfort hurt hearts, how people save hopeless animals lives, how an individual used their dad’s memories to create a program for giving shoes to those in need, or a community of people that knit warmth for those who are cold and more. The art will be supported with information cards telling the stories of kindness that surround us.
“Acts of kindness and caring are captured through the use of canvases and fused glass, all of the artwork conveying the message of giving hope,” she adds.
Martin says, “Good will surrounds us each and every day. We spend a great deal of time talking about what’s wrong with the world and very little time on noticing what’s good. Caring for each other is what gets us through the hard times. Whatever we focus on becomes the biggest. This exhibit focuses on the boundless compassion people have for each other. We express the good of people through our art, capturing how kindness is a powerful agent of hope and change. This exhibit is a reminder that there is more good than bad, and there always is.
“It seems the whole world has been struggling with the basic needs of living for the past few years,” Martin adds. “Crime has increased, mental health has declined and security of food and home has been shaken. But even in the hardest of times human compassion for each other does not diminish. It brings the breath of hope to every situation. We all give it and receive it each and every day. Our subjects were pulled from local news programs, papers, and people simply sharing their personal stories of hope. We were overwhelmed by the numerous ways people reached out to help each other and their communities. We wanted to pay honor to them through our art.”
“We not only want visitors to enjoy the show, but to remember that we are all the givers and receivers of hope. Use it and use it often,” McElligott says. “It took a lot of input from various sources that provided us with information and images used to create this exhibit.”
The artists specifically thank the I Am Not Lost program of Upstate South Carolina, Christmas Shoes of Greenville and the YMCA of Taylors for their assistance, and many others who made the exhibit possible.
While McElligott and Martin both are members of the Artists Collective | Spartanburg – McElligott for three years and Martin for five – this is their first joint exhibit. They both are self-taught artists.
“I enjoy being a member of the collective for gleaning ideas from different artists,” Martin says. “When I talk with other artists in the Collective, I hear their process and see whether I can incorporate some of their ideas into my work. I try to keep growing so it doesn’t get stale for myself or patrons.”
McElligott adds, “We are excited that we have the opportunity to present this exhibit at ACS. The Collective is a wonderful place for artists to broaden their creative work through the exchange of ideas, and that is exactly what we did. The ACS is a good platform for artistic growth.”
The inspirations for the works in the exhibit were pulled from local TV and newspaper reporting over the past year. “The goal of our art was to tell as many of these stories as we could, displaying the work in one room, at one time, in hopes of filling visitors with a heartfelt experience,” McElligott says.
The 24 works in the exhibit will be offered for sale with prices ranging from $45 to $800.