Waterworks opening is Dec. 2

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“Art of Faiths, Religions of the World: Tolerance and Diversity,” along with the 9th Annual Artist Invitational, opens at Waterworks Visual Arts Center Saturday, Nov. 26 and runs through Feb. 11.
This exhibition is the first of a multi-year series celebrating the diversity of faith. Three artists explore Christianity through their artwork in this exhibition. Consecutive years’ series will explore Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. Featured artists are the late Robert Doares of Salisbury, Michele Wood of Atlanta, Ga. and Ed Byers of Asheville.
After graduating from high school in 1929, artist Robert Doares, a native of Maxton, N.C., moved to New York City to begin his art career. While working in a department store, Doares asked if he could cover a blank wall with a mural. That opportunity helped launch his career. He enrolled in the Grand Central School of Illustration to study under Harvey Dunn, the “dean” of American illustrators and quickly found ways to develop his talent through drawing covers and illustrations for major publications such as Doubleday’s and Harper’s. As an artist for the Medical Department of the Armed Forces, he drew illustrations for training materials and other assignments for the Army Hospital. After the war, he became a freelance illustrator, drawing covers for Outdoor Life, Redbook, Doubleday, and Harper’s. He also drew the illustrations for Phillip W. Keller’s book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, which is still in print. In 1952, Doares had a life-changing experience. In response, his art became his offering of worship and praise to the Lord. He began to paint the life of Christ in a series titled “Immanuel, God With Us: The Life of Christ in Art” that represents 30 years of his life. LightShine Ministries arranged to bring these paintings to North Carolina from Illinois to share Robert’s story and artwork.
Asheville clay artist Ed Byers’ figurative sculptures are representations of our human experience – beauty and spirit through color and form. His inspirations are folk, American-Southern, African and spiritual beings, set in a place of joy, peace, and hope.
American Book Award-winning artist Michele Wood has inspired the hearts and imaginations of readers with her books, entertained art lovers with her exhibits, and educated students in her workshops and residencies. Through her artwork, she shares a personal journey through faith and devotion.
The Apex Museum in Atlanta awarded her a grant that allowed her to embark upon a pilgrimage to Yoruba Land in Africa where she had the opportunity to work with acclaimed Nigerian sculptor and educator Lamidy Olaude Fakeye. This experience deepened her appreciation for empowering cultural and spiritual values and traditions. In 1996, Michele published her first children’s book, “Going Back Home: An Artist Returns to the South.” It established her, not only as a significant artist but as an important commentator on the history and culture of African-American people. In her book, “I See the Rhythm of Gospel,” she combines her artistry, Christian faith, and passion for cultural history through the book, CD, and corresponding art exhibit.
The American Library Association awarded Wood with the 1999 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.
The 9th Annual Artist Invitational Exhibition features 10 of the region’s finest emerging and established artists exhibiting mixed media artwork. Featured artists are Lisa Durbin of Asheville; Ric Erkes of Davidson; Sharon Hamilton of Winston-Salem; Mary Linn Norvell, Cara Reische, Kirsten Reynolds, Ron Slack and R. Wayne Wrights of Salisbury; Mark Stephenson of Misenheimer and Matthew Thomason of Julian.
On Friday, Dec. 2, there will be a Meet and Mingle with artists Ed Byers, Michele Wood, and the Rev. Dale Steele of LightShine Ministries, who will give informal gallery talks at 4 pm. Michele Wood will be signing copies of her new book, “I Lay My Stitches Down” at 5 p.m.
The opening reception will follow from 6-8 pm. Light refreshments will be served. These events are free and open to the public. To help us better plan, please RSVP to marketing@waterworks.org or call 704-636-1882 if you plan to attend.
Waterworks Visual Arts Center is located at 123 East Liberty St. Admission to the gallery is free. Gallery hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information, please visit www.waterworks.orgor call 704-636-1882.