‘Colors of Haiti’ on display at Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen

One can catch a glimpse of everyday Haitian life in a single painting’s vibrant colors and exotic scenery at “The Colors of Haiti” exhibition.

The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen partnered with Midwives for Haiti to bring a taste of Haiti’s fighting spirit and distinctive culture to the Richmond community.

“The Colors of Haiti” exhibition opened July 14 in the Gumenick Family Gallery and will continue until Sept. 11.

The displayed art pieces are meant to emphasize Haiti’s strength and perseverance despite the devastating after-effects from the earthquake.

“The landscape paintings depict the rich beauty of the country, which typically gets overseen due to the earthquake and the economic climate of the nation,” said Anita Waters, director of public relations and marketing at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. “Additionally, the people depicted in the paintings reflect a vision of contentment and hope as they go about their daily routine, which contrasts the fact that they are [from] a third-world country and one of the poorest in the world.”

Sixteen artists, including Watson Etienne, Gerald Michael Lafontant, Jacques LaFontant, Harold St. Jean and Wilbert Laurent, are participating in the exhibition. Both Wilbert Laurent and Watson Etienne are displaying six paintings each.

For the opening, organizers of the exhibition expected 80-100 people to attend, and more than 3000 are expected to visit the entire exhibit.

Since the first “Colors of Haiti” drew the highest number of attendants in 2009, the center decided to build up a partnership with Midwives for Haiti. Any art sales made during the exhibition run will contribute to the organization’s mission to educate Haitian women in prenatal care and skilled birth assistance.

Waters mentioned that the artwork purchased by members of Midwives for Haiti has been hanging in the offices of the various locations of Virginia Women’s Center, which is where Dr. Stephen Eads and Nadine Brunk, Henrico board members of Midwives for Haiti, work.

“They were looking for a gallery that would exhibit the art so more people could see it as well as learn more about the mission of Midwives for Haiti,” she said. “Because of the huge success of the first exhibit with most of the paintings and wooden items sold, we approached them about doing the exhibit once again.”

Midwives for Haiti has been educating Haitian women in the birthing field since 2004. The non-profit organization focuses on bringing skilled birth attendants to the country with the worst maternal mortality rate.

Haitian women are taught basic skills by nurse-midwives and other health professionals who donate their time for 10 months.

The goal is to reduce maternal mortality and improve women’s and infants’ health as well as provide access to prenatal care and delivery assistance.

The organization accepts donations online at http://www.midwivesforhaiti.org and also is supported by Bon Secours Health System, Virginia Women's Center and Rotary International.
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