Students escaped the rainy weather Wednesday and went to the opening of a new art exhibit at The Gallery of the Common Experience.
A reception for the gallery, held in the Honors Coffee Forum, was sponsored by Texas State Parents Association, University Honors Program and Common Experience. The exhibit features an African mask collection, documentary photos by Alan Pogue and various artists’ work from the Helping Other People Everywhere campaign.
The H.O.P.E. campaign is an Austin-based company that brings artists and media to places in need. The H.O.P.E. campaign brought awareness last year to the crisis in Rwanda by printing and selling T-shirts.
Shepard Fairey, famous for the red, white and blue Barack Obama “H.O.P.E.” campaign image, worked with local Rwandans to print T-shirts.
Proceeds raised from the sales were given back to the Rwandan people.
Andi Steidle, H.O.P.E. organizer, spoke to students at the event and said anyone is able to make a difference in the world.
“Everybody has the power to do something,” Steidle said. “Art can make a difference. Not everybody can build a hospital. Not everyone can write a check for $500.”
Steidle said the H.O.P.E. campaign allows artists “who once sat here, where you sit today” to contribute their work to support existingprojects around the world.
Students Taking Action Now for Darfur (S.T.A.N.D.), a student organization promoting awareness of the genocide in Darfur, donated left over funds to H.O.P.E.
Angelika Fuller, geology resource and environmental studies junior and S.T.A.N.D. treasurer, hopes the exhibit will bring awareness to the crisis.
“The artwork is amazing,” Fueller said. “It’s really great having it here.”
Linda Kelsey Jones, gallery curator, said they plan to auction off a four-set series of posters by Fairey, which is on display.
Alan Pogue, an Austin-based documentary photographer, said his photos on display in the exhibit would not be found in mainstream media.
“You won’t find this in the press,” Pogue said. “We can’t talk about peace groups in the U.S. press.”
Some of Pogue’s notable images include veteran protests, worldwide prison conditions and U.S. farm workers.
Pogue said crafting one’s art is important.
“You have to know what you’re doing to show people what’s going on,” Pogue said. “That is our hope.”
Cole Harrell, musical theatre junior, spent a month in Niger, Africa bringing Hepatitis C medication to families. It was during this time he collected masks and their stories, which are now on display at the exhibit.
“It’s nice to get a room to take in the masks,” Harrell said. “At home they were just in boxes.”
The exhibit is on display until Oct. 2. The art gallery is located in Lampasas 407.
“All students are welcome,” Jones said. “It’s a great place to come and study.”