Lakeland Hosts Pop-Up Art Exhibit and Film Centering on World Refugee Crisis
The Gallery at Lakeland welcomes the Columbus Crossing Borders Project, a traveling art exhibition and documentary film screening relating to the record high numbers of displaced persons across the globe.
“The Columbus Crossing Borders Project is about caring. Caring about humanity, caring about justice and caring about the truth,” said Laurie VanBalen, project director and producer. The idea for the project was born out of the grief of losing her father less than 24 hours after Donald Trump was elected president. “It was a milestone in my life. I couldn’t grasp what I was seeing,” VanBalen said. “I’ve typically been one of those people who only talks about politics with close friends and family, but I felt there was a danger in the silence now.”
“When did we stop caring about each other?” was the question VanBalen found running through her head as she sought a way to bring a real impact to the worldwide refugee crisis. She began with an idea to have an exhibition featuring her work along with contributions from a handful of her artist friends. That idea continued to grow as her quest to bring greater diversity to the project brought new inspiration.
The Columbus Crossing Borders Project brought together 34 artists and a film crew to embark on a mission to inspire understanding, compassion and support for the millions of people around the world currently fleeing war, terror and persecution. The exhibit and documentary bring to life stories shared by refugees, offering small windows into their personal struggles. As the exhibit moves from left to right, each painting contains an element that reaches into the painting beside it, allowing for neighboring artists to cross the borders and enter each other’s paintings. Throughout the exhibit, as paintings and diversities flow in their combined efforts, what emerges is a bigger, more beautiful outcome resulting from a cooperative community.
A documentary film titled Breathe Free, also a part of Columbus Crossing Borders, will be screened on campus throughout the two-day event at Lakeland. The film gives the audience an intimate look into the arduous journeys of refugees who are willing to share their stories, and pays tribute to the resilience, strength of spirit and devotion that sustains those who have lived through such hardship. Also covering the creation of the art exhibit, Breathe Free interviews the artists and follows the journey of their ideas becoming reality, as well as the experience of “crossing over” into each other’s paintings.
Learn more about the Columbus Crossing Borders Project coming to Lakeland Community College September 11 and 12, plus find a schedule of events at lakelandcc.edu/women.
CREATIVE ARTISTS ASSOCIATION | THROUGH SEPTEMBER 6
COLUMBUS CROSSING BORDERS PROJECT | SEPTEMBER 11 & 12
Reception & Screening of Documentary Breathe Free 3pm Wednesday, September 11–5pm Thursday, September 12
THE SKULL & SKELETON IN ART VI: FOLK ART TO POP CULTURE | SEPTEMBER 19–NOVEMBER 8
Curated by Mary Urbas | Costume Party/Artist Reception/Boneyard Market: 6–9pm Thursday, October 24
The Gallery at Lakeland Community College
7700 Clocktower Drive
Kirtland, Ohio 44094