Ray Turner: Population

March 01 - April 27 2013

Alexandria, LA

Ray Turner’s Population is an evolving, community-engaged traveling exhibition comprised of a series of representational and abstract painted portraits that invite the viewer to contemplate notions of both collective and individual identity.

Population creates a unique opportunity for venues to engage directly with their visiting audience, as portraits of local citizens become part of the exhibition and the artist sets up and offers art workshops with local community groups and schools. Curators and museum staff have selected subjects who represent important areas of their communities, from “at risk” kids, to museum guards, to the museum board itself. In helping to identify what it thinks are diverse groups within its own local community, the staff at the museum becomes critically involved in the exhibition. This relationship, between the artist and directors and staff of the museum, has revealed itself to be an unexpected foundation of Ray’s philanthropic work.

In the workshops that occur within each community, Ray approaches the youth he mentors by showing them “how to find their spark” by allowing them to express themselves artistically—expression that is an important window into creativity and thought.

In November 2012 Ray visited the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program, a multifaceted program that aims to help at-risk adolescents achieve their education and become productive and responsible members of society.

Also in November 2012 Ray visited and held a workshop at the Hope House of Central Louisiana, which provides safe shelter and essential services to homeless women and their children, empowering them to independence.