"Power Over Poverty" at the STUTZARTSPACE

Power Over Poverty

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Two local artists are challenging common perceptions of poverty - and fighting poverty by stocking food bank shelves - with an exhibition of new work at Stutz Art Space Aug. 7 to Aug. 28.

In creating the new work for the exhibition, Derek Powell and Kevin Smola asked themselves what "poverty" truly means. Who are the poor among us? How is poverty different today than in the past? How can we as a community help those affected by poverty? Powell and Smola's abstract oil paintings and drawings play on concepts and stereotypes surrounding wealth and poverty.

"Power over Poverty" opened August 7 with a reception featuring a silent auction benefitting Gleaners Food Bank. The timing couldn't have been better. "Mid-summer is a particularly tough time as donations are down and the need is up," said Pamela Altmeyer, president and CEO of Gleaners Food Bank. "Children who were receiving meals at school are now at home and that puts a strain on the family budget. This year it's especially challenging as our charities are seeing a 30 to 50 percent increase in the number of requests for food, many from families who have never sought assistance."

Much of the art is abstract, but the cause is concrete. "The word 'poverty' typically brings to mind a lack of money that can lead to inadequate food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water," said Smola. "These days, though, poverty takes many forms, it strikes quickly and it affects us all. Almost everyone knows someone who's struggling with unemployment, financial distress or family disaster. All of that can lead to real poverty, in many forms."

"We can't fight poverty in our communities if we don't see it in all its forms," said Powell. "We want to open eyes to the poor among us, so we can use all our resources and abilities to fight the poverty that stands as a constant presence in even the wealthiest, most-developed areas of the world."

WHAT: "Power Over Poverty" Art Exhibition & Silent Auction
WHERE: Stutz Art Space Gallery, 212 W. 10th St., B110 (Enter from 10th Street via alley)
WHEN: Friday, August 7, with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Exhibition open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment through August 28
COST: Free
INFO: (317) 503-6420

Strange Path by Kevin Smola

About Kevin Smola

Born in Southern California but residing in Greenwood with his wife and newborn son, 27-year-old Kevin Smola has had a life-long interest in art ever since rendering the perfect yellow school bus in third grade. The boys and girls "oohed" and "ahhed" and from then on, he was the kid who could "draw." That interest had evolved into a love of creation before graduating from the University of Southern Indiana in 2003 with an education in fine art, graphic design and advertising.

After being awarded the Stutz Artist Association's Artist in Residence Grant for 2006-7, Kevin continues to paint what inspires him in his studio at the Stutz, D-480.

At left: Strange Path by Kevin Smola

One Man by Derek Powell
One Man by Derek Powell


About Derek Powell

Powell, 33, was born in Indianapolis but has lived in Ireland and West Africa. He earned a B.S. in art education from Taylor University. He is a founding member and treasurer of the Limner Society (limnersociety.com), a group that seeks to awaken a visual art renaissance in the church. He and his wife live in Butler-Tarkington with their two daughters. His studio is in A-350 at the Stutz.

Derek says that creating artwork is, for him, a form of worship and that the creative process is as important as the final product. "Hopefully something about this creative process comes across in the finished work - the process of interpreting beauty and my attempt to create a quiet, meditative visual space."


About Gleaners

Over 137,000 Hoosiers are not hungry today because Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana provides food and critical groceries to hunger relief charities. Gleaners, a member of Feeding America, formerly America's Second Harvest, was established in 1980. Since then the food bank has distributed over 230 million pounds of food and critical grocery products to over 400 hunger relief charities serving Hoosiers in need in 20 central Indiana counties. To learn more, log onto www.gleaners.org.

Stutz Art Space, a nonprofit visual art center featuring a gallery and workshop, opened in January 2008. Its mission is to connect artists, audiences and resources. A schedule of classes is available on www.stutzartists.com. STUTZARTSPACE.