Kilgore artist's homeless students exhibit in Longview

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Local artist Anup Bhandari will give East Texans a chance to see the residents of Newgate Mission in a new light at a gallery night Thursday.

Bhandari, who moved to the United States from Nepal after developing a interest in art, studied photography at Kilgore College and fine art at the University of Texas at Tyler. After seeing homeless people on the streets of Longview, Bhandari began collecting blankets for people in need by asking for donations in posts on social media. He also began photographing the homeless around town to increase awareness of the problem in the community.

Eventually, Bhandari began volunteering at the Newgate Mission in Longview, which provides meals, rides, showers and other services to senior citizens, the homeless, those on fixed incomes and those suffering from mental health problems. Bhandari began teaching art classes for Newgate patrons and painting portraits of them for his “Faces of Newgate” series.

Portraits by Bhandari and his students began to be exhibited in Longview, at the public library and the Longview Museum of Fine Arts. Some of the paintings were offered for sale and the proceeds were donated to the Newgate Mission.

Eventually, Bhandari and his art students began displaying their works at gallery nights hosted by Newgate Mission.

Over time, the community began to learn of these art displays and began attending to see what Bhandari and the Newgate artists produced.

The “Healing Arts” program created by Bhandari is intended to help Newgate patrons express themselves and to give these artists a way to create an income for themselves. For some of the artists, finding independent income is difficult because of mental health issues or the lack of a permanent address. The events are also a way for the East Texas community to learn about their less fortunate neighbors in a respectful way.

The upcoming “Faces of Newgate” gallery night will be held at the Newgate Mission at 207 S Mobberly Ave. in Longview on Thursday, Sept. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. There will be a $5 suggested donation at the door and children will be admitted free.

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