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‘Sun and Stripes’ exhibit graces McDowell Arts Center

By Eileen Schwartz
Correspondent

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  • Want to go?

    Meet the artists at the opening reception for “Sun and Stripes” from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. June 7 at the McDowell Arts Center, 123 McDowell Street East, adjacent to Matthews Community Center. Information: 704-847-9746. Attendees receive a free American stick flag, compliments of VFW 9488.



Visions of summer and patriotism can be seen on the walls of the McDowell Arts Center in Matthews during June.

Abstract flowers, bright colors and American flags are some of the images that pop off the canvases of new artworks.

The works are part of a collaborative exhibit among artists with disabilities from Mosaic: A LIFESPAN Studio; students from the McDowell Arts Center; and artists from The ARTS New Collections.

Erin Keeter, 22, a student from a McDowell Arts Center class for people with disabilities, is blossoming into an expressive painter who applies coat after coat of thick paint to give life to her flowers.

Keeter was born in Charlotte and lives with her parents in Lansdowne. She creates art part-time, volunteers at South County Regional Library and works a few days a week at The Cowfish restaurant in SouthPark.

Carol Davis, 50, lives next door to the Charlotte Museum of History in a UMAR group home with five other women. Davis has been painting and exhibiting for the past five years.

Davis is popular artist who sells out whenever she exhibits. She paints images with words, people and objects to tell a story: “Making Cookies with My Momma” and “Last Supper” are portrayed in a folk-art style. Davis was born with a disability but sees herself as a woman not limited by that , instead presenting herself as a role model able to achieve her dreams.

Davis works part-time at McDonalds and spends the rest of her time painting. Her work can be seen in the blog, “The ARTS New Collections.”

Jason Huntley, 30, paints at Mosaic: A LIFESPAN Studio. He’s been painting for the past two years.

“It’s my favorite thing to do,” Huntley said. His animals, ice skaters and circus performers are expressive in his favorite colors of gray, red, green, orange and brown.

LIFESPAN started in 1973 in Charlotte with a class for five children with developmental disabilities who were excluded from public school. LIFESPAN empowers children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing education, employment and enrichment opportunities in their communities. It now serves 1,200 children and adults in 20 locations.

Charlotte native Lisa Thompson, 50, has been painting with LIFESPAN for 11 years.

“I just draw it out with my pencils and then I paint it,” Thompson said. Her art, consisting mostly of images convey personalities involved in fun activities, has a following of collectors.

Eileen Schwartz is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Eileen? Email her at Eileen@theARTSnc.com. Eileen is an art instructor for children and adults with disabilities at the McDowell Arts Center and is the writer of the blog, “The ARTS New Collections.”
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