Hope Network ‘Joyful Art Globetrekkers’ exhibit comes to Artworks

Ruth Vermeer, an art instructor with Artworks, hangs pieces for “Joyful Art Globetrekkers,” a new exhibit in the lower gallery of Artworks in downtown Big Rapids. The work for this exhibit was created throughout the past year by participants with the Hope Network program, which gives people an opportunity to come to Artworks every other week for an art experience. (Pioneer photos/Taylor Fussman)

BIG RAPIDS — Art inspired by cultures from all around the world has found a home in downtown Big Rapids.

“Joyful Art Globetrekkers” is a new art exhibit set up in the lower gallery of Artworks and has been a year-long collaboration between the organization and Hope Network artists.

Ruth Vermeer, art instructor, said this is the fourth year Artworks has worked with participants from Hope Network, an organization which provides a wide range of healthcare and life services to people who experience physical, mental and social barriers. The program gives people a chance to come to Artworks every other week for an art experience.

“The idea is to improve their quality of life by allowing them to do art,” she said.

The exhibit consists of several pieces of art inspired by other artists and cultures from different countries and time periods. The pieces include cherry blossoms made from tissue paper inspired by Japanese culture, painted Aboriginal animals from Australia and matryoshka dolls, or nesting dolls, from Russia.

Among the pieces crafted for the Hope Network “Joyful Art Globetrekkers” exhibit at Artworks is matryoshka dolls, or nesting dolls, inspired by Russian culture.

Vermeer said the purpose of working on these pieces throughout the year was to give participants exposure to art and culture from around the world.

Although the exhibit is already on display, an opening reception is scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Artworks Executive Director Lynne Scheible said the reception will give community members a chance to interact with the artists and art. Refreshments also will be available.

Scheible said the Hope Network program is one of the best activities Artworks offers.

In recognition of this program, Artworks was recently named the recipient of the Michigan Association of Rehabilitation Organizations APEX award in the category for Outstanding Community Partner. Scheible said Artworks was nominated for this award by Hope Network.

Vermeer said she loves working with this program and the 12 Hope Network participants, and seeing the art they produce.

“They do beautiful work. I get the joy of coming up with something meaningful to do, and they are wonderful to work with,” she said.

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Posted by Taylor Fussman

Taylor is the city/county reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review newspapers. She can be reached at (231) 592-8362 or by email at tfussman@pioneergroup.com.

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