VAE Raleigh: Art With Purpose Exhibit

For the past 2 years, Visual Arts Exchange (or VAE) Raleigh, a local art museum in downtown Raleigh, has hosted a week-long art installation in honor of Enloe Charity Ball. After last year’s successful display in honor of Enloe’s 2018 beneficiary, the Autism Society of NC, 25 Enloe artists were excited to dive into this installation to support the Southeast Raleigh Promise, an incredible charity that is working to reverse the effects of intergenerational poverty in SE Raleigh. Because this charity covers such a broad array of issues, the art pieces displayed were all very unique and covered a variety of topics, including poverty, gentrification, poor education, lack of career opportunities, and food insecurity.

This piece, by Sashiti Kothamasu, features the burden that poverty can have on an individual, to the point that they begin to “unravel” and become “tangled” in the issues that surround them.
“City Lights,” by Katherine Ryan is a beautiful, interactive piece that allows viewers to literally light up different aspects of a 3D model of a city with just a flip of a switch. By flipping all 3 switches, labeled “Economic Opportunity,” “Safe Transportation,” and “Affordable Housing,” the viewer can watch the whole city shine before their very eyes!
Audrey Liu’s piece features a multicolored city with a flock of birds flying through, linked together by a thin red string.
“Shared Vision,” by Tessa Dahlmann, is a geniusly wired sculpture of an eye that has a stream of tears constantly falling from it. Each person who views this piece is encouraged to add a drop of purple dye to the water, to represent the idea of pouring wealth and creativity into the community to help stop intergenerational poverty.
This piece, “With, Not To Nor For,” by talented artist Mindy Ji, features 3 different women smiling in different directions, with panels of plexiglass that reflect the face of the viewer as they admire the piece. By using plexiglass, Mindy is asking viewers: “What is your role in this movement?”
Kayla Moore’s piece “Ponders of Gentrification” features a young girl looking out on her neighborhood, pondering the changes she has seen in her area as she has grown up in Southeast Raleigh.
Arielle Gaither’s piece features multiple faces, representing the different types of people that inhabit Raleigh. There are pieces of mirror placed around the piece, so that people can feel like their reflection is a part of the piece, just like they are a key part of our city.
Karina Adam’s multimaterial piece, made entirely of school supplies, is in the shape of a city. She used glue, pencils, rulers, markers, erasers, and used paper to make the appearance that it was put together by a young child.
Suzanna Murwaski’s piece features a girl in a sea of words, with a horde of people walking above and below her. Linking these two crowds is an embroidered ladder next to the words “Stairway to heaven.”
Isabella Dobb’s piece, “Urban Scales,” shows how opinions can clash within a city that is speeding towards urban growth, in the same way that music can become repetitive and certain notes can be left out of tune within a composition.
This piece, made by yours truly, is titled “A Better Fruit-ure,” and represents how an issue such as food insecurity can be so prominent right here in Raleigh. Various fruits and vegetables are painted around the 3D vessel, to represent the hope for a happier and healthier life for SE Raleigh residents.

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