Exhibition preview: “Exchanges” brings together students and professionals

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From the March 20, 2014 edition

The Creative Arts of Women (CAW), a group of visual and performing artists, writers, administrators and appreciators, is designed to impart support and inspiration for professional creatives. Their latest exhibition, “Exchanges,” provided these resources for the students of Fort Hayes High School.

“Exchanges” brought together students with CAW artists — and even CAW working together on pieces — for a collaborative process that resulted in a comprehensive exhibit containing many art forms.

“Even though our work doesn’t necessarily deal with the same ideas and processes, there’s still that creative self that needs nurturing.” said CAW co-founder Stephanie Rond, who was in the first graduating class at Fort Hayes. “Everybody walks out of that space feeling inspired … because this process has made inspiration very contagious.”

The visual arts component is currently on display at Fort Hayes’ Shot Tower Gallery. The reception that runs from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, March 20, will be a convergence of talents, featuring dancers, musicians and singers performing alongside the paintings, photography and sculpture. (I checked out the exhibit during a performing arts rehearsal last week, and the experience was remarkable.)

“Exchanges” began two years ago when CAW exhibited at Shot Tower, and the students, so inspired, set up an adjacent gallery titled “CAW In-training.” Hearts melted, a mentorship program was established.

CAW members had a rewarding experience; Fort Hayes students more so.

“Through this we get to see all the art forms and put them together … which is amazing. The experiences that we’re having will greatly help us in the future,” said Jon Thorne, a music student at Fort Hayes.

“CAW, to me, means actually expressing who I am as a person … with that, I’ve become a better singer, and a more honest [person] because this whole experience has allowed me to be myself and get to know my peers better,” said K’Lynn Partee.

The biggest success in “Exchanges,” besides some stunning works of art by students and professionals alike, is the relationships.

“The strength of this exhibit is, yes the art is fabulous, but you can actually, physically see the exchange. There’s a visual record of the relationship,” said CAW member Catherine Bell Smith.

Photo credit: Catherine Bell Smith