Valdosta Daily Times


January 28, 2013

Traveling Souls

VALDOSTA — The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts has hosted many traveling exhibits during the past decade, but none may be as epic in scope and origin as the current “HispanosAmericans Traveling Souls” show.

Not only does the “Traveling Exhibition of Hispanic American Visual Artists Project” include works by 49 artists from 11 different Latin American nations, it breathes life into one man’s ambitions to share his native culture with his adopted state.

Bill Shenton, the arts center’s curator, explains.

Two years ago, Felix Berroa, a Marietta artist from the Dominican Republic, contacted Shenton. Berroa wanted to know the process for bringing an exhibit to the arts center. 

Berroa “explained that through his travels, he had met many artists from all over Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean,” Shenton says. “He explained he was planning to gather two works from each of these many artists to create an exhibit that would tour around Georgia for about a year.”

By November 2011, the center had booked the show for the January 2013 opening. Meanwhile, Berroa applied to other Georgia arts centers and began the strenuous process of gathering the works from faraway regions.

Anyone who has ever shipped an art exhibit knows it is neither easy nor inexpensive just moving it from one town to another, but Berroa was dealing with dozens of artists from nearly a dozen different countries.

“The ambition to gather such a collection is quite extraordinary on its own merit,” Shenton says, “but Felix, in order to overcome one of the largest obstacles — paying shipping from all these location on large art works — took it upon himself to request the paintings, created in these different countries, to be un-stretched upon completion, and shipped rolled up to him in Marietta.”

Once in Marietta, Berroa “built stretchers and re-stretched these paintings, adding framing when needed.”

Once collected and prepared, it came time to set the show on the road. The show first stopped in the Abernathy Art Center in Sandy Spring. Valdosta is the second stop. From here, it travels to the Bank of America Plaza on Peachtree Street, Atlanta.

Visitors will discover a visually compelling and attractive show. Paintings dominate the exhibit, but viewers will also find a sampling of drawings, sculpture and digital photography.

Berroa’s wife is from Colombia, which is home to the majority of participating artists.

“Many of these artists are well known in their native countries, some having works in their countries’ national art museums, and a few have works in major U.S. collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and The National Gallery of Art in D.C.,” Shenton says.

Visitors may also purchase a color catalog of the exhibit for $15.

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