By Matt Mattei - [email protected]

Display of Love showcases works of diversity, non-violence in Wyoming Nov. 10

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A photograph by Jim Gavenus shows a little girl advocating for love instead of hate. The photograph will be part of a multi-media exhibition focused on diversity and non-violence in Wyoming Nov. 10.
Courtesy of Jim Gavenus
Eagles of Death Metal frontman, Jesse Hughes, shows his emotions as he looks at the flowers placed in memoriam of those who were killed during the Dec. 8 bombing of The Bataclan concert hall.
Getty Images
This work of art was created by a prison inmate in Illinois and will hang as part of the Display of Love exhibition Nov. 10 in Wyoming.
Submitted photo
This work, part of the Display of Love, which shows Nov. 10 in Wyoming, was created by Barbara Williams Emerson and Enzi Imara Emerson, daughter and great granddaughter of civil rights leader Hosea Williams.
Submitted photo

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    WYOMING — Jim Gavenus wants people to stop and feel the love, and he’s organized an exhibition to catch their attention.

    The Display of Love, a multi-media community art project focusing on themes of love, diversity and peace, takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at T.W. Shoemaker Art in Wyoming. The event showcases works from artists, photographers, writers and musicians of a multitude of ages and backgrounds and attempts to unify the community against hate and violence.

    Gavenus, a 51-year-old photojournalist and professor of communication arts at Luzerne County Community College, said the inspiration came to him when he was driving to a concert at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in 2015 shortly after terrorists killed nearly 90 people at the Bataclan Theater in Paris during an Eagles of Death Metal performance.

    “As details came out, I had known several friends who had played there,” Gavenus said of the Bataclan. “I really wondered if we, as a community, as a people, have accepted this as a part of everyday life.”

    After polling a few of his classes at LCCC to gauge how a younger generation was absorbing pervasive violence, Gavenus said he came to the conclusion that it bothered his students, but they were at a loss for a solution.

    “I said, ‘I don’t know how to fix it, but doing nothing doesn’t help,’” Gavenus said.

    Gavenus’ first notion was to do a project on love and diversity himself, using his own photography as works in the exhibition. His previous projects include journaling the civil rights movement in Selma, Ala.

    “Then I thought, it’s better if it’s a lot of people speaking out and saying, ‘Hey, this still exists,’ people of all ages and religious backgrounds,” Gavenus said.

    Gavenus started by sending some emails to get people interested in the project and ask for submissions, and he found that people identified with him.

    “People felt like I did, that there’s still a lot of good in the world, but we’re drowned out by these violent events that happen,” Gavenus said.

    He began receiving artwork in the mail, and the project expanded in scope to include music, poetry and photographs from people all over the world.

    “We have some local grade schools that have done some work,” Gavenus said. “We have work from Africa, Haiti. There are musical pieces. One song was written by a musician out in Oakland. I didn’t know him. He was a drummer for a friend of mine, and he contacted me and said, ‘I didn’t know what to do, but now I know I need to write a song.’”

    Gavenus will display one or two of his photographs, but the focal point, he said is on the work of others.

    “As more and more pieces came in, I removed more and more of mine,” Gavenus said.

    Gavenus said he’s realistic about the effects of such an effort. He doesn’t expect the display to solve the world’s problems over night, but, he said, it’s important for communities to come together and remain strong.

    “It’s tough times, but I think there’s more good than there is evil, so this might just be a little taste of it,” he said.

    A photograph by Jim Gavenus shows a little girl advocating for love instead of hate. The photograph will be part of a multi-media exhibition focused on diversity and non-violence in Wyoming Nov. 10.
    http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_DisplayOfLove.jpgA photograph by Jim Gavenus shows a little girl advocating for love instead of hate. The photograph will be part of a multi-media exhibition focused on diversity and non-violence in Wyoming Nov. 10. Courtesy of Jim Gavenus

    Eagles of Death Metal frontman, Jesse Hughes, shows his emotions as he looks at the flowers placed in memoriam of those who were killed during the Dec. 8 bombing of The Bataclan concert hall.
    http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_Bataclan.jpgEagles of Death Metal frontman, Jesse Hughes, shows his emotions as he looks at the flowers placed in memoriam of those who were killed during the Dec. 8 bombing of The Bataclan concert hall. Getty Images

    This work of art was created by a prison inmate in Illinois and will hang as part of the Display of Love exhibition Nov. 10 in Wyoming.
    http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_love-from-prison_6491.jpgThis work of art was created by a prison inmate in Illinois and will hang as part of the Display of Love exhibition Nov. 10 in Wyoming. Submitted photo

    This work, part of the Display of Love, which shows Nov. 10 in Wyoming, was created by Barbara Williams Emerson and Enzi Imara Emerson, daughter and great granddaughter of civil rights leader Hosea Williams.
    http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_display-of-love-williams_7192.jpgThis work, part of the Display of Love, which shows Nov. 10 in Wyoming, was created by Barbara Williams Emerson and Enzi Imara Emerson, daughter and great granddaughter of civil rights leader Hosea Williams. Submitted photo
    Creative works gathered for Display of Love

    By Matt Mattei

    [email protected]

    IF YOU GO:

    What: Display of Love

    Where: T.W. Shoemaker Art, 312 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming

    When: 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 10

    Additional information: Admission is free. The event also features a coat drive to aid those in need as winter approaches.

    Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts

    Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts

    IF YOU GO:

    What: Display of Love

    Where: T.W. Shoemaker Art, 312 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming

    When: 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 10

    Additional information: Admission is free. The event also features a coat drive to aid those in need as winter approaches.