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Alumni Art Exhibit Examines ‘Wealth and Poverty’

Laura Amstutz Weibezahn, a 2008 graduate, has artwork on display in the Homecoming 2012 Alumni Exhibit.

A highlight of Belmont’s Homecoming 2012 week is the Fourth Annual Alumni Art Exhibit, which opened Jan. 23 and runs through next Friday, Feb. 24. The exhibit showcases the artwork of several esteemed alumni and is being held in the Leu Center for the Visual Arts in Gallery 121.

The exhibit features multiple mediums to depict this year’s University theme of “Wealth and Poverty.” The alumni whose works are represented–L.A. Bachman (’06), Matt Chenoweth (’07), Paul Chenoweth (’08), Bethany Taylor (’07), Leah Tumerman (’05), Laura Amstutz Weibezahn (’08), and Ron York (’75)–responded to an open call to all Belmont graduates. 

While most of the programs scheduled around Belmont’s “Wealth and Poverty” theme have focused on a literal, economic interpretation of financial condition, artists in this year’s Alumni Art Exhibit were asked to explore a broader interpretation. The exhibit challenges the visitor to look at the subject matter not only as a polarizing condition but also as a process, a continuum that includes nothing, and everything.

Paul Chenoweth, an alumnus who works in Belmont’s Information Technology Services, curated the exhibit and is displaying some of his own ceramic art as well. He said, “You might imagine that a literal, visual translation of the polar opposites of wealth and poverty would not be terribly difficult… we live in a society where we can see wealthy people as well as poor people in our cities and towns. Expanding the interpretation to include more than financial differences to include mental, spiritual, psychological, environmental and even political wealth and poverty opens up opportunities for artists to challenge preconceptions and encourage personal reflection.”

Paul Chenoweth, Leah Tumerman and Julie Thomas prepare for the Alumni Art Exhibit reception and gallery talk.

Most of the pieces displayed are current works, and some are being displayed publicly for the first time. The theme’s interpretation, for the most part, was left up to the artist. Included with each exhibited work is a brief explanation of how the particular piece embraces the theme. 

Chenoweth adds that the exhibit offers an eclectic mix of work to appeal to all types of gallery visitors. Both the novice and the aficionado should be able to find something intriguing among the works displayed.”L.A. Bachman’s series ‘Keeping Up with Jones’ is showing for the very first time. Her paintings (although abstract) depict our society’s obsession with accumulating ‘things.’  [My] ‘CityScapes’ ceramic bottles take a more literal interpretation of the Wealth & Poverty theme illustrating influences from travel to third world nations where wealth and poverty are frequently observed side-by-side.” 

Julie Thomas, director of constituency programs in the Office of Alumni Relations, said, “Four years ago we launched the Alumni Art Exhibit as a Homecoming programming initiative to engage a group of alumni that were missing in the ‘Back to Belmont’ equation.  Not every Belmont alum is interested in athletic or musical events, so we were trying to address a gap we felt existed… This is the first year the exhibit has actually opened before the week of Homecoming, and we are thrilled that the Department of Art has provided a longer window for the exhibit to be open for viewing.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m-6 p.m. For more information, contact Julie Thomas or visit the gallery’s website. Click here to view photos from the gallery and the Feb. 16 reception and gallery talk.

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