Kilgore artist sets new exhibition for homeless artisans

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The main goal, Anup Bhandari says, is to bring hope to the homeless, but his ongoing Healing Art Project serves as another outreach as well: to the community in which his wandering artists reside.

He hopes to repair the rift, using the artists’ nascent talent to bring them from the fringe to the forefront, and their artwork will be in the spotlight once again Thursday during another ArtWalk in Longview.

It’s been six years since the Kilgore artist and philanthropist began his outreach, centering his efforts on the clients of Longview’s Newgate Mission.

“We have a lot more paintings this time and also photographs,” he said. “We have more artists nowadays.”

In regular sessions, the Nepalese émigré introduces the homeless visitors to different techniques and mediums. He exhibits their works throughout East Texas often, from ArtWalk Longview to the KilGogh Arts Festival.

Whatever’s on the canvas, captured in the photograph or molded from the clay, the artwork illustrates an important message, Bhandari explains: “People who are suffering from homelessness are no different from the rest of us. They also have feelings and emotions. Through art they are able to express their thoughts and emotions in a creative way that could lead to their healing and show their talent to the community.”

The Oct. 6 ArtWalk is set for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and works by Bhandari’s students – ranging in age, skill and experience – will be on display at the Longview Museum of Fine Art. For some, it will be an exhibition; for others, a sale.

Free and open to the public, any proceeds from the Healing Art Project Thursday night at 215 E. Tyler Ave. will be split equally between Newgate and the individual artists.

“There will also be an artist talk – they’re going to talk about their work and themselves at 6:30 p.m..” Bhandari said. Too often, he added, “We ignore them. The main goal is to share their work to the community, so they’ll be looked at differently. They have talent. They’re all human beings.”

Over the years, sponsorship and sales have not only supported the ongoing project but have provided valuable affirmation for the artists.

“They have made some money from their work,” Bhandari said. “They get inspired and they want to paint more.

“Once they’re there, they continue painting for two or three hours non-stop. And they’re really good artists.”

For more information, contact Newgate Mission (207 S. Mobberly Ave. in Longview) at 903-757-6146 or reach Longview Museum of Fine Arts at (903) 753-8103.

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