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Nancy Rosel Brown painting

Nancy Rosel Brown’s piece is representative of her Jewish heritage and is set in the Middle East.

MOORESVILLE – For the first time, the Mooresville Arts Center is holding a multicultural exhibit dedicated to highlighting the ancestry of the area’s residents.

Mooresville Arts Center President Jessica DeHart said she was inspired to host the exhibit when she heard the Town of Mooresville was hosting its first multicultural festival, One Moore Fest.

“When they came up with their idea, we said 'let’s have an exhibit in the same vein,'” DeHart said.

The two events are being held “in conjunction” but not together.

One Moore Fest is scheduled to be held in downtown Sept. 15, while the multicultural art exhibit will be open for most of September.

“We want artists to represent their cultural heritage,” DeHart said of the Mooresville Arts Center’s show. “It’s up to the artists to decide how to do that, based on their interpretation of what excites and inspires them based on those parameters.”

Nancy Rosel Brown is one of the 25 artists who has already submitted work.

Brown, who moved to Mooresville from Alaska last year, said she is “100 percent Jewish,” and therefore painted a landscape representative of the Middle East.

The Israelis have been seeking their homeland since the exodus as slaves out of Egypt centuries ago,” Brown said in an email. “They are still fighting for rights to their homeland. My painting tries to convey their initial plight across the hot, barren desert for a better life.”

Brown has shown her work in nearly every Mooresville Arts Center exhibition this year. But she said this one was different because it was themed and had a selection process.

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Mooresville Arts Center

The Mooresville Arts Center’s warehouse space is where the multicultural exhibition will be held.

“I was surprised that submitting artists needed to represent their own ancestry for this exhibit and select among eight regions globally to participate,” Brown said.

The eight regions artists could choose from were North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Only five spaces were awarded for each region.

DeHart said the selection of those eight regions made it “kind of like a challenge” for artists.

“One of our members said she really appreciated the opportunity to have a starting point to create a piece of artwork to reflect each artist’s cultural heritage and where their family is from,” DeHart said.

Brown echoed similar sentiments, saying she liked the challenge of painting something different from her typical subjects.

“I was impressed with the opportunity to tell a story about my ancestry,” Brown said. “And I am looking forward to seeing what other artists create and learn a little about their heritage how they choose to portray it.”

DeHart said any medium was welcome – whether it be photography, sculpture, drawing or something more abstract.

“I think it will be a nice exhibit,” DeHart said. “And hopefully artwork from all the regions will be represented.”

The show, which will run Sept. 4-27, will be free and open to the public.

There will also be an opening event for the show Friday, Sept. 14 – the day before One Moore Fest.

“So it’ll be a nice weekend for all sorts of multicultural happenings in downtown Mooresville,” DeHart said.

The Mooresville Arts Center will receive a percentage of the proceeds of festival alcohol sales, which will go toward its ongoing effort to upgrade its warehouse – where the multicultural exhibit will be held – with an HVAC system and insulation.

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