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Smith House Galleries opens two exhibitions on July 2

Arts Council of the ValleyArts Council of the Valley announces not one, but two, Smith House Galleries exhibitions opening in July.

The group exhibition, Hilos en Común (Common Threads) – A Collection of Stories and Quilts and The Keepers of Secret Selves: Photography as a Counter-Narrative to Ageism (black-and-white photographs by Deborah Pugh).

An in-person opening reception is scheduled July 2 during First Fridays Downtown, 5 to 7 p.m. at Smith House Galleries, 311 South Main Street. Visitors are also invited to view the exhibitions Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning July 7.

In addition, the two exhibitions will be available online, starting June 28, at facebook.com/acofthevalley and valleyarts.org/current-exhibition. Smith House Galleries is supported in part by ACV’s 2021 Cultivating the Arts Platinum Sponsors: Kathy Moran Wealth Group, Matchbox Realty and Riner Rentals.

On display through July 30, the Hilos en Común quilts and stories were inspired by the 2012 Virginia Quilt Museum exhibit Los Hilos de la Vida (Threads of Life), leading to the formation of the Hilos en Común group in Harrisonburg eight years ago.

“Hilos en Común represents a safe community where personal, vulnerable, and powerful stories are shared and expressed through textiles,” the group’s textile instructor Paula Caldwell said.

Participants work together on machine sewing, hand sewing, quilting, surface embellishment, imaginative design, and language.

“Though most of the women start with very little experience in either hand or machine sewing, their commitment to learn, imagine, and create is extraordinary,” Caldwell noted. “This collection of art quilts speaks of their hardships, dreams, strength, joy, survival, love, faith.”

Hilos en Comun meets weekly during the school year and relies on donations of materials and machines. The group originally met in the home of Gloria Diener, moving two years ago to Asbury United Methodist Church.

On display until Aug. 27, The Keepers of Secret Selves photography collection was inspired when Deborah Pugh saw an older couple holding hands in a park.

In 2018, she received an ACV Advancing the Arts grant to use low-key portraiture as a counter-narrative to ageism.

“The truth is that there is little photographic representation that conveys images of beauty, vitality, or essence when it comes to older people,” Pugh explained. “My hope for this exhibit is that these portraits will inspire everyone, young and old, to question ageism and discover the value in themselves and in each other through dialogue and inquiry.

“As an artist,” Pugh noted, “I find myself on a journey to find creative truth in the photograph, in the subject, and in myself. The use of shadow and light creates an emotional, intimate viewer experience as the subjects’ release from darkness reveals the strength of the Young-Self, the Eternal-Self that has not been diminished by age or ageism.”


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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