May 2, 2020

Pieces of H.O.P.E. , 4-23-2020, Danielle B.

Meet Danielle, H.O.P.E. Healing Art Gallery Manager

The heart of London is not just one, single organism but the assemblage of millions, all
woven together. Each beating heart melds into a resounding and solid chord, coming together as
one for all to share. I learned this quite quickly when I decided to make this enormous city my
home in September 2018. “Across the pond” didn’t feel like a fitting phrase to me. Although the
interconnections between the United States and United Kingdom are innumerable, I felt altogether
far behind or far too ahead. I guess what I was experiencing was a sense of “cultural time travel”.
I was neither here nor there. I didn’t realize before my decision to move there that life would be a
bit backwards. For the individual, “pond” means the vast space between myself and the
overwhelming diversity of this City. However, over time and with enough acclimation, I came to
learn that if each person’s heart makes up the beat of London, then each person’s diverse way of
life is what makes up its soul.


Not one day went by when I lived in London (the Borough of Lewisham to be exact)
where I didn’t hear a different language or smell a unique smell or taste a foreign dish. London
holds all the doors of possibility for an individual, and by walking its streets, hopping onto its
buses, and descending down into its Underground you’ll find exactly what you are looking for.
Yes, yes we go off to university to earn our degrees and pray we have a career when we’re
finished. But we also know that deep within ourselves we want something more. Something to
remember, something that could change us for the rest of our lives’. We yearn for new
destinations in life, to discover how we may fit into this world, and to find our hope that we can
do it on our own. I may have left home on my own, and I alone decided to leave California
behind (only for a while), but all the heartbeats I encountered in London led me to be touched by
its soul as well. And that, my friends, can never be achieved on your own. The conglomeration
of experiences, and the individuals behind those experiences, not only showed me the
importance of love and togetherness, but revitalized the hope I needed to have in myself and the
path that I have been walking on.


As part of my degree, I spent a great deal of time in a variety of museums throughout
London. In these spaces I learned the fundamental approaches to modern museum practice from
management and funding to conservation to curation and exhibition design and more. My cohort
and I had access to a variety of unique opportunities all involving the relationship anthropology
has within the museum. A great deal of my time was spent at the Horniman Museum and
Gardens in Forest Hill, London. Situated at the top of a green, rolling hill from its peak you can
overlook the whole of Central London. From this birdseye view, you couldn’t help but feel
London’s heart beating and after a few short moments your heart was in-sync with the city’s. Not
only did I realize I was home, but I was full of that hope I sought after.
Much like this amalgamation of beating hearts that compose the city of London, our
current gallery exhibition, Pieces of H.O.P.E. , evokes a similar message. Through a breadth of
eclecticism, mixed media, and multicultural approaches, the artists have created a space that has
a variety of unique styles and features that, when analyzed as a whole, can be seen as “one
beating heart”. Each artist and their work have a distinctive message and meaning, which attests
to the diversity within the gallery and enables each artist to have a sense of their own creative
freedom.


But when we start to bring each piece together, we can see the evocative nature of the
space. Moreover, the emphasis begins to reside in the ultimate goal of promoting and protecting
the individual’s wellbeing (either as an artist or a viewer). Together we are able to explore the
gallery space and have the opportunity to interpret meaning, connect with our own feelings, and
identify different levels of inspiration. Through engaging variations of symbolism and style, each
piece truly signifies the essence of the gallery and of H.O.P.E. as a whole. When experienced as
a wholly constructed exhibition, each artist’s story and meaning comes to life and provides
individuals and the community a moment to let the space move them and promote wellness
through reflection. Ultimately, this space achieves a cathartic experience that we surely hope will
last in our visitors’ hearts and minds for years to come.
This exhibition serves as a resounding first heartbeat for the H.O.P.E. gallery, one that
will set the tone for the many exhibitions to come. At H.O.P.E., we believe in the power of
creativity and the arts as an unlimited source of healing. By utilizing the arts – like music, poetry,
drawing, painting, dancing – we all have the potential to access a state of wellness. Either by
directly practicing an art style or experiencing art secondhand, we can let that healing power
move through us, which will equip us with the ability to accept or ignite change, support our
wellbeing, and lead us into a new age of self discovery. The H.O.P.E. gallery is another pivotal
extension to the Studio’s mission of healing art and restoration through art. By providing a
designated space that offers a variety of extraordinary and cathartic artwork, we aim to engage
the public through our unique and unprecedented approach to community-focused art healing.

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