When it came time for CORE New Art Space member Carmen Melton to put up her first show, she had a different take on how to use her precious wall space: Instead of simply highlighting herself, Melton organized Our Neighbors, Ourselves, a huge group portrait show focusing on the plight of Burmese immigrants in the Denver area, as well as on Project Worthmore, a local nonprofit that provides services to struggling refugees. Melton says she got to know PWM founders Frank and Carolyn Anello after her daughter's school worked on a project with the organization last year, and the images on their website inspired her to create art that might also raise funds for their cause.
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"As an artist, I've always done portraits," she says. "Commissions are sort of a dead end: You paint the portrait and make your money, and then that’s it. But when I was reading online about what they do with their organization, I saw those images and thought, 'I could do portraits of these people.'" But that was just the beginning: Along with fifteen or more of her own paintings, Melton will introduce more than 100 works by nearly fifty artists. "Some of the other artists in the show are closet artists; they make great works, but they've never shown it before. I wanted to do something bigger, something besides the standard art show."
Our Neighbors, Ourselves opens today, with a First Friday reception following from 6 to 9 p.m. tomorrow evening; see the show through January 20 at CORE, 900 Santa Fe Drive. All proceeds benefit PWM; for more information, go to www.carmenmelton.com or visit www.projectworthmore.org.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 3. Continues through Jan. 20, 2013