TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

March 25, 2014

A well of hope for a dry village

Art exhibit at Corbin Library focuses on Haiti earthquake recovery


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

Four years after a horrific earthquake shook the Caribbean nation of Haiti, a Corbin artist hopes a picture he painted will help get a simple water well built in one Haitian village.

It’s part of an art exhibit Brian Theodore is having now through next Wednesday, April 5 at the Corbin Public Library.

The exhibit’s main attraction — and one that will be raffled off to a person who makes a donation to “Water For Haiti” — is an oil painting called “Woman at the Well.”

“It comes from a story in the Bible. The woman met Jesus at the well, and she was saved. If you look at this painting, there is a strong light source to the left, which symbolizes Christ. I like the symbolism, the light, as well as the stones, the well and the look on the woman’s face. She’s looking up, as if she’s seeing something amazing,” Theodore said at the library Monday.

Actually, it’s the second time the English and Creative Writing teacher at Corbin High School painted the picture. He did the first version about 10-15 years ago.

The second time around, Theodore did the current “Woman at the Well” on-and-off, in about a week.

He’s hoping his work of art — along with other fundraisers that past and present Corbin High teachers have recently done — will bring in $15,000 to help pay for the cost of building the well for a village in Haiti.

“I haven’t had an exhibit in years. The last one I had was at Union College over 10 years ago. But the former ROTC teacher at the high school, Colonel McClure, helps out with the missionary group, ‘Water for Haiti.’ He introduced the organization which will build the well to myself and Corbin High’s Media Specialist, Pam Bishop. I thought I could help by having an exhibit and a raffling off a painting,” noted Theodore.

Earlier fundraisers for the Haiti effort began about three weeks ago, and included a dinner.

Raffle tickets for his painting will be sold during the entire run of the exhibit at $1 per ticket. In addition, donations for the building of the well will be accepted at the Corbin Public Library.

He added, “The library was very, very generous and nice to us. They also let us display the paintings.”

Other works of art painted by Theodore will be exhibited on both floors of the library, located at the corner of Laurel and Roy Kidd Avenues.

But he admits his favorite trio of pictures he’s created are being shown in a party of three.

“Like ‘Woman at the Well,’ all three paintings shown together on the main floor have a Christian theme. There’s also a painting called ‘Persecution’ and another one called ‘Centurion.’ Both of those are not for sale, but all three of them compliment each other, with all three each telling a story,” the artist pointed out.

The 2010 earthquake destroyed much of Haiti’s infrastructure. He said the devastation cut deep into the basic necessities that we take for granted.  

“I was talking to Pam and we agreed if was hard to imagine a town and people without water. The first thing you think about is going thirsty. But you use water to be clean, to cook, for transportation. And imagine the thought of going dirty all the time, and not being able to brush your teeth. Think about that,” said Theodore.

The earthquake in Haiti struck on January 12, 2010, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale. More than 230,000 persons were killed, according to CNN. In addition about 300,000 people were injured, and 1.5 million persons were initially displaced.

A United Nations report stated about 279,000 displaced people remain in 352 sites as of June 2013.

“It’s a poor country, Haiti, and the earthquake made it worse. I’m sure they’re making some progress, but there’s still a lot of misplaced people living in those camps,” he added.

Many of them still without some basic necessities, such as water.

Which is why Theodore hopes the community will visit the exhibit.

To purchase a one-dollar raffle ticket for the “Woman at the Well” painting.

And to build a well for a Haitian village, thanks to the proceeds.

“People can come and view original works of art, and they can participate in a worthwhile cause. I was told it would cost $15,000 for Water For Haiti to dig and put in the well. Even if we just put a dent in that amount, it would help. It would be wonderful if Corbin would jump on board,” he said.