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Art Inspires Change at Epsten Gallery

Art’s very purpose is to inspire and provoke but how far should that go? More than a few artists in history have taken a political stand with their work. In most cases I would say an artist should never be censored. However,  the public’s safety or peace of mind should never be sacrificed to make a statement. Epsten Gallery in Overland Park, KS agrees.

Located just inside the Village Shalom, the Epsten Gallery opted to remove art from their exhibit as a measure of kindness. A handful of holocaust survivors are among the community. Pieces from the exhibit were removed in an effort to reduce traumatizing effects. This community of elderly people were targeted last April by a white supremacist who drove to the Kansas City area in search of Jews to murder. This suspect is accused of shooting and killing two people just before driving to Village Shalom in search of more victims. The suspect has yet to stand trial.


Removal of art in Overland Park exhibit generates discussion about hate
Censorship didn’t strike the new exhibit at the Epsten Gallery in Overland Park. No, it was the lingering power of gun violence that forced a decision to remove two beautifully thought-provoking porcelain installations. The changes were made out of

The art that was created as an anti-violent statement was removed to avoid provoking negative reactions. As a community still reeling from the event last spring therapy was provided to residents but the effects of such a hate crime linger.

The Epsten gallery chose to handle the works with their residents in mind. The cases were draped with black cloth until removed as a means to minimize the the feelings of vulnerability. The art is no longer on display but Epsten Gallery still managed to make a profound statement against hate crimes while  considering the well-being of their community.

“Allow art to be the catalyst to bring the conversation to the table,” Ruffin implored to those gathered Sunday.

“It’s not about censorship,” she said. “It’s about let’s pay attention.”

This is how love and compassion will win.

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