Exhibit “Art for Change” opens the minds of viewers with captivating portraits

Courtesy of Gina Cole

Gina Cole, a Boise based artist, has garnered the attention and empathy of many with her portraits of  children being exploited in third world countries. Cole felt called to start the exhibit, “Art for Change”, after watching the netflix documentary, “Tales by Light”, which explores the lives of at-risk children. 

“That really sparked this interest. So that night, after I watched the show, I was like, what can I do?” Cole said. “Why don’t I just shine the light on them?”

Cole then set to work creating predominantly oil based portraits of children listed within the Netflix series. The portraits encapsulate the pain and tragedy inflicted on such young children, forcing viewers to stare directly into the eyes of these victims.

The paintings primarily focus on just the faces of the young children, with no background or extra decor — bringing sole attention to the faces of the children being exploited.

The funds created by Coles exhibit have been donated to the United Nations Children’s Fund, also known as UNICEF.

Cole also works full time in a medical setting, meaning that painting is a true passion of hers, despite it not being a full time career. She has dedicated much of her life to helping and caring for others, through art and compassion.

Cole has also created an art therapy program for veterans, giving them an opportunity to feel the relaxation and creative relief that painting brings to all who try it.

Cole first picked up painting as an adult, inspired by a friend who enjoyed painting. Cole found the solace and peace that art brings to be something she craved. 

“If you like it, keep doing it,” said Cole. “ Don’t pull yourself down.”

Art can be such a therapeutic outlet for all who attempt it. Cole is proof that people do not need to be born artists to learn how to do it, and  you certainly create change with it.

Gina Cole’s “Art for Change” exhibit is available to viewers at the Water’s Edge Gallery at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City through the end of November.

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