Faces of Freedom opened at the Transylvania Arts Council on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Transylvania Arts Council.  The opening reception and performance by artists were held on January 16th.  It was one of the most moving events I have ever attended.

There was a love in the air and a safety so many felt as they bared their souls to us.  One woman explained her artwork and how it freed her from her bonds of sexual abuse as a child.  What courage that story took to paint and share for all to see on a wall of the gallery.  And furthermore, she shared her story as she spoke during the opening.  It was stunning.  That was just the start.

A high school student spoke of how she was born in Ethiopia and how her mother gave her and her sibling up for adoption when she was 10 because she couldn’t feed them.  She was adopted and has been here for seven years and spoke of the hunger her mother and other siblings are still facing in Ethiopia.  From the depths of my soul, I cannot imagine being a mother who has to give up her children because there is no food and no way for me to provide for them.  I can’t imagine being the child who is here and shares, with a depth of knowledge of the pain of hunger and the injustice her family continues to face while we are throwing at least 1/3 of our food away in this country.  She touched my heart deeply and many in the room.

One presenter read a poem that brought her to tears.  Well, several did.  One artist spoke of how the scorn of some had caused her to stop painting and how the love of her husband opened her heart and she has started painting as she never had.  Her heart broke and she shared her grief as she spoke of helping provide food and clothing for women and children who needed help.

Some artists did not speak but their art spoke volumes.  I was mesmerized by the work of our local artists in all mediums presented.

The opening was a sincere healing event that included many ages, genders, ethnicities and worldly experiences.  It was a true testament to the power of art in our community and the depth of love, open, pure, raw love we share amongst each other.

Nicola, who puts this event together every year is an angel in our community and she surrounds herself with many other angels.  Tuesday evening, she brought them together to bless us all.