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Hampton Roads high school students express themselves at ‘Healing and Hope’ exhibition

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - On the walls of a quaint art gallery at Virginia Wesleyan University, you'll find yourself transported into the minds of our youth.

"School shootings are addressed; race is addressed; issues of family, ethnic identity, issues of happiness, sex trafficking and the environment," said John Rudel, curator.

The exhibition is called "Healing and Hope," originally inspired by the Virginia Beach mass shooting on May 31.

"We then realized the theme needed to be broader and felt that students would respond to a number of issues, not just the tragedy," said Rudel.

Rudel says there is an elevated sense of anxiety in our communities, so he called on high school students to express their feelings on the current culture through art.

"When you put an endeavor like this together, you are not sure anyone will respond at all, but the response has been humbling," Rudel explained.

Eighty-six artists from 13 different high schools across Hampton Roads submitted everything from paintings to photos to papier-mâché.

"For a lot of these students, it's a way to be heard and recognize they are heard," said Rudel. "It's  an act of expression, means of communication these things can be felt. It's an avenue for discovery and change."

If you want to go:

"Healing & Hope"
November 21-December 13
Neil Britton Art Gallery at Virginia Wesleyan University
5817 Wesleyan Dr., Virginia Beach, Va. 23455
Artist Awards Reception: November 21, 6-8 p.m.
Click here for Gallery Hours
Free and open to the public

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