Mississippi State University’s Department of Art is welcoming the new year with an art exhibition titled the 'Art of Hope.' This art display, which is meant to invoke the feeling of hope despite difficulties and loss, has been on display at the Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery since Jan. 21. It will remain on display for students, staff and the Starkville community to observe until Feb. 28.

Lori Neuenfeldt, MSU art instructor and galleries director, said she is pleased with the exhibition and hopes people will come and observe the many pieces of art that were submitted by artists from across the country.

“We’re happy to have this exhibition because there are artists from 20 different states represented,” Neuenfeldt said. “From that, we can get a wide variety and range of different types of materials artists are working with, and artists of different and diverse backgrounds, along with different subject matters in their work.” 

Neuenfeldt said the different pieces of artwork can strike a chord with observers over shared experiences of despair and hope.  

“The idea of hope can be very broad and some artists interpret it as a call to action,” Neuenfeldt said. “These works can inspire observers, since they’re connected to real-life issues such as stereotypes, racism and gender bias, along with other things such as the environment and even personal struggles like loss and illness. These art pieces are meant to really inspire and bring hope to someone struggling with stuff like this.”

Alex Ladewig, a gallery assistant with the MSU art galleries and a senior art major, said she loves the variety of perspectives and compositions in the exhibit and is excited for the works of art to be shown to the public.  

“I really think that 'Art of Hope' is so amazing because of the diversity of the show. It's really bringing in all these different ideas of what hope is and gives perspective to what people are going through and thinking about in their daily lives,” Ladewig said. “It has many styles and mediums of artwork and each one is different in concept, even with them all having the same prompt. This gives it a very unique visual when walking through the gallery.”  

Ladewig encouraged people to come and see the exhibition because of the presentation of ideas from diverse backgrounds that present an inclusive and diverse commentary on the power of hope.  

“People should see this show because of how it brings together so many different ideas from artists all over the country showing what hope is to each of them,” Ladewig said. “It’s truly inspiring that all of the pieces can work so well together and bring new perspective to the viewers.”

Jacob Crook, the exhibition coordinator for the Department of Art, said he sees the ‘Art of Hope’ show as an important display for MSU since it is the first national juried exhibition.

“The works on display present a wide variety of interpretations of the theme and produced a very eclectic show of creative efforts from across the country,” Crook said. “Some address hope from a very personal and intimate perspective and others address issues related to hope from a regional or even global point of view. It’s an excellent arrangement of work that will offer viewers a glimpse into a broad range of creative explorations from artists working as nearby as Columbus, Mississippi, and as far away as Alaska.”

Crook said coming to see the pieces of artwork in person is integral to the full appreciation of the artist’s and gallery staff’s efforts.

“Viewing the work in person is crucial to the experience of the show as a curated effort between artists, juror and gallery staff as a whole,” Crook said. “There are audience participatory works, sculptural installations that respond to viewers' motions and textural sensations, both visual and tactile, that while beautifully represented in photographs, cannot fully communicate the intent and of the individuals that created them unless viewed up close.”

Neuenfeldt said the exhibition is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Feb. 28.  There will be a reception open to the public at 5 p.m. on Jan. 31 with John Sabraw, the juror of the exhibition, as the keynote speaker. 

“Come out to the ‘Art of Hope’ exhibition to see all these inspiring works of art,” Neuenfeldt said. “We’re happy to have you and you’re free to stick around for as long as you like.”  

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