The Reif Center for Performing Arts announces the opening of a new exhibit by artist Mary Myers Corwin which celebrates the bond between veterans and service dogs. The exhibit “Barnabas 22” will open on Oct. 22 and run through Nov. 20, in the Reif Gallery. The opening reception will take place on Oct. 22 from 5 – 7 p.m., and the public is encouraged to attend.
“Barnabas 22” is a project that aims to shed light on the statistic from the Veterans Administration that each day 22 veterans are lost to suicide. The project was begun by Corwin in 2018, and the main focus of the project is an art exhibit of 22 chalk pastel portraits of service dogs and emotional support animals. Each dog is an important part of the life of a military veteran and an essential part of their wellbeing. The stories of these veterans and their devoted battle buddies shows the important difference that a service animal can make in preventing suicide and promoting healing.
Mary Myers Corwin has been an Artist in Residence with the City of Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission’s residency program in Old Central School since 2016 when she retired from her job of more than 20 years as support staff for the Grand Rapids, MN Police Department.
Mary began painting in the 1980s and studied with Jackie Jensen Dingmann of Grand Rapids. In recent years her primary focus has been on creating portraits of dogs in chalk pastel. She was a winner of the 2017 Dick Blick Pet Portrait national contest and her dog portraits have been recognized in both the 2018 and 2019 Juried Art Exhibition at MacRostie Art Center. She has a passion for supporting and working to honor the people who serve as law enforcement officers, active duty military personnel, and veterans.
This project is supported by VFW Post 1720 and is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature’s general and arts and cultural heritage funds. Reif Gallery exhibits are presented in partnership with MacRostie Art Center.
“Barnabas 22” will open at the Reif Gallery in the Reif Performing Arts Center, 720 NW Conifer Drive, Grand Rapids, on Oct. 22, with a reception from 5 – 7 p.m. Veteran Lon Hodge and his service dog Gander will be in attendance, and Lon will speak at 6 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served. The exhibit will be on view through Nov. 20 from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday or during Reif Center events. For more information contact the Reif Center at 218-327-5780.