The unique talents of many Salem area residents were showcased during a special reception at the Psalm Visual Arts Gallery on Nov. 1.
The reception marked the opening of the “Valuable” art exhibit showcasing the artistic ability of adults with developmental disabilities. More than 50 people from around the community came to enjoy the artwork and took the opportunity to meet the creators.
The exhibit was the culmination of a year of work by Corban student and Shangri-La volunteer Alex Gowan. The Salem, Ore. based non-profit helps adults with developmental disabilities and those that care for them. She said the opportunity to work with these individuals forever changed her views about men and women with developmental disabilities.
“The title for the show is ‘Valuable,’ because all of the art is made out of repurposed materials; materials that some may have deemed worthless,” Gowan said to the crowd during the reception. “What determines the value of a person? Certainly it is not perception, for that is prone to change from person to person. Indeed, even a person’s view of themselves can be distorted in their own mind.
“Neither can a person’s achievements, however impressive, define their value, because that would mean that unsuccessful people are somehow worth less,” she added. “No, a person’s value must come from something fixed, something unchangeable that cannot be determined by perception or performance. A person’s value comes from a permanent, intrinsic value: that each and every individual is created in the image of God, and that in turn, every individual is ‘Valuable.’”
The reception and its artists also impressed Allan Jones, an assistant professor of Bible at Corban.
“I was impressed by the level of presentation and the motivation behind it,” he said. “I enjoyed the personal expression in the pieces and was struck particularly by the level of artistry in the work ‘Elvis.’ I could not agree more with Alex that these people are Valuable, and I feel this was a great way to express this reality.”
The “Valuable” art show is free to the public and open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Nov. 30.The Psalm Visual Arts Gallery is located on Corban’s Salem campus at 5000 Deer Park Dr. SE in Salem.