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News . Feature Stories . Student's portrait collection on view at University Hospitals through Sept. 8

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August 04, 2015

Student's portrait collection on view at University Hospitals through Sept. 8

Public reception set for September 1, 5-7pm

Student's portrait collection on view at University Hospitals through Sept. 8

A CIA student’s collection of evocative portraits of residents of a Cleveland homeless shelter is on view in the Humphrey Gallery of University Hospitals Case Medical Center, 11100 Euclid Avenue, through Sept. 8. The exhibition, Faces of Cleveland, is free and open to the public. The Humphrey Gallery is on the first floor of the Humphrey building adjacent to the Lerner Tower main entrance. A public reception with the artist is set for Tuesday September 1, 2015, 5-7pm.

Every Friday of the final semester of his junior year at CIA, Elmi Leodan Ventura Mata would visit the 2100 Lakeside Men’s Homeless Shelter, interact with residents and draw their portraits. At the end of each session, he photographed the drawings, then gave the drawings to participants as gifts. Mata used the photos to inform the paintings, which he created off site. Four of the final paintings will be donated to the shelter at the end of the exhibition.

“The basic premise of the project is that art can be therapeutic, whether through creating or viewing art,” according to Mata, who has a double major in drawing and painting. “Residents were encouraged to create work, but preferred to pose and have their portraits drawn.”

University Hospitals Art Curator Tom Huck (CIA Class of 1984) said, “The portraits in Faces of Cleveland bring an important awareness and personal perspective into the lives of a small facet of Cleveland’s homeless population. The pieces are beautifully executed in an abstract expressionist style that captures each individual’s character and gives insight to their personal struggles.”

Mata pursued his project through Creativity Works, a program of self-initiated internship experiences for students looking forward to careers as visual artists. Creativity Works was made possible by a generous grant from the Fenn Educational Fund of the Cleveland Foundation.

Above: detail from "Glen," acrylic on canvas, by Elmi Leodan Ventura Mata.

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