((Left) Tangled Line Hyena, pencil on paper by Emma Carpenter, (right) Moose, pencil on paper by Visions of Hope Inmate Artist)
Art in the Atrium, Franklin Crossing, which opened November 3, 2020, exhibits artwork by Emma Carpenter, a high school sophomore, as well as by inmates of Oregon correctional institutions. The exhibit continues through November 28, 2020.
Emma Carpenter continues her first gallery exhibition of artwork created in the past two years. Working in her favorite digital medium as well as graphite, the talented young artist attended only two formal art classes, both through public school. With a high GPA, she now participates in Advanced Placement & honor classes, receiving college credits.
She notes, when asked what inspires her art, “Music is what encourages my art. When I’m drawing, it changes tones and it fits unique artwork. Different moods to each song create different moods to each piece. Drawing takes me into my comfort zone, I feel I have the freedom to create my own world. After high school, I will be going to college to be a chemist, but my art will continue to be a large presence in my life. I will continue to escape into it.” (emma-carpenter.com)
Also featured in the current exhibit are artworks by of inmates of Oregon correctional facilities facilitated by Visions of Hope, through a project begun 18 years ago. In 2002, Carol and Bob Higgins, former Bend school teachers, became missionaries. They visited northern Uganda — then torn by on-going civil war — and met numerous children orphaned by the conflict. Returning in 2003, the Higgins responded to desperate pleas to rescue these orphans from the violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), notorious for the capture and heinous mistreatment of children.
With a flatbed truck and the help of local citizens, the Higgins bravely rescued 30-some children who they successfully housed in the community school at Lira, Uganda, luckily available during summer vacation. Recognizing the need for on-going care for the rescued orphans, the Higgins then undertook the creation of Otino Waa Children’s Village (near Lira). More like a village than an orphanage, they worked for 12 years to organize and direct the institution.
Now some 18 years later, approximately 300 children continue to receive food, clothing, housing, education and spiritual support at the village, assisted by U.S. in-country directors, native Ugandans, dedicated employees and worldwide beneficiaries. Supported entirely by donations from private individuals, the children attend primary, secondary and vocational school. Especially noteworthy, 78 Otino Waa graduates currently continue on scholarships in Ugandan institutions of higher education.
The Higgins, following their return to the U.S., through contact with the chaplain (a relative) at Snake River Correctional Institution in Oregon, introduced their work with orphans to inmates who expressed a desire to help. Among those inmates were artists who volunteered to donate their artwork for sale to benefit the children. Visions of Hope (VoH), directed by Dale and Sandy Russell of Bend, was then created!
Through visits to the correctional facilities, and accepting the inmates’ offers to help, the Russells organized and joined volunteers from Bend with the inmates, initiating Visions of Hope. These volunteers, including the Russells, expanded the program to eight other correctional facilities in the state, with many other inmates now donating artwork. Inmates often also create frames (in woodworking shops) for the art, and Eastlake Framing of Bend donates additional framing at cost. All art is offered for sale by VoH directors and volunteers with sales benefiting the orphans.
Many of the inmates, volunteers and other contributors also help sponsor the children with monthly donations. All proceeds from the sale of this art go directly to support the Otino Waa orphans. Investors in a piece of this art become a partner in giving these deserving children food, clothing, education and, most importantly, hope for their futures. As well, purchases give as a sense of purpose to inmates who can feel hopeless.
Visions of Hope continues to collect and sell paintings, jewelry, crocheted hats, quilts and other items generously created by approximately 80 women and men inmates from correctional institutions statewide. As a fund raiser for the village children, all sales of inmates’ art and other items solely benefit the Ugandan children of Otino Waa Children’s Village. For additional information contact Visions of Hope, Dale Russell, at email@example.com, 541-420-6611.
Billye Turner, art consultant, curates the Franklin Crossing displays. For information, purchase of displayed artwork, contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-780-2828.