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Photo by Shane Epping featured in Columbia Art League’s annual exhibit, Interpretations III.

Courtesy of Shane Epping

In your eyes

This year’s entry of the Columbia Art League’s annual exhibit, Interpretations III, takes on a whole new meaning of visual.

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Ever since I could remember, I’ve always liked art.

My nana would take me to our local art museum at least twice a month, and every exhibit opened my eyes into seeing something new, different.

I’d thought I saw it all until I popped into the Columbia Art League downtown this past Tuesday to check out the third installment of its annual exhibit, Interpretations III.

It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Every piece was different, exciting, heartfelt and inspiring. The exhibit made me fall in love with the idea of art all over again.

Interpretations III is a collection featuring 40 different writing compositions under 100 words and 40 different pieces of art. It is on view until Oct. 30 and is housed at the Columbia Art League on Ninth Street.

Topics range from death and family to the Black Lives Matter movement and even cheeseburgers. Anything goes, and that’s how it has become the league’s most anticipated show to date.

The exhibit is based off a former Columbia Art League show held four years ago, which was based on the book “Hint Fiction.” The book is a collection of short stories all under 25 words or less. The exhibit’s curator, Diana Moxon, invited local artists to come choose a story from the book and illustrate what the piece meant to them.

The show was such a hit that Moxon decided to host the same concept, but this time with local artists and writers in Columbia.

Each year, Moxon gets many submissions from the area, and each submission goes through a point-based judging process. The pieces with the highest amount of points in the writer and artist categories are chosen for the exhibit.

Then comes the process of pairing the artist and the writer. Moxon says she uses a bit of “female intuition” when pairing the two.

“I feel like a matchmaker,” she says.

Shortly after the pair is made, the artist is given a writing composition to illustrate, and the writer is given a piece of art to put into 100 words or less.

“Most artists are afraid to submit because no matter what they get, they have to do it,” Moxon says. “But … people who do step into that area, beyond the comfort zone, really get a lot out of it and it moves them forward as an artist, and so they like being stretched by it.”

Many participants of the show can agree that the opening night is the best part, for the artists and writers have no clue who they worked for or who did the interpretation of their work.

“I mean, the whole point is that everybody sees the world differently, and so you can look at a photograph and everyone gets something different from it,” says Josh Ray, a writer whose work is in the show. “They always say a picture is worth 1000 words, and you only get 100 words to interpret it, and so everyone would choose a different 100 words, and that’s just kind of the point.”

Moxon agrees with the sentiment.

“I think it’s important that we remind people through the show that the world is full of many different opinions, and everything is valid,” Moxon says.

That’s what Interpretations III is — the fact that as humans we all see the same things, but each and every one of us interpret them differently.

“It brings the community together, but it also brings out in some pieces contemporary issues, with Ferguson for example, or anything like that,” Ray says. “It just brings the conversation out among people who are creative and can maybe think of not necessarily a sort of way to fix it but just, just think of ways we can help make the world better, you know? As cliche as that sounds.”

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