The ‘newbie’

Gamber Center to exhibit photography of Diane Brown

tporter@lsjournal.comJuly 30, 2014 

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    Number of photos Diane Brown will have on display July 31 through Oct. 16 at Gamber Center in Lee’s Summit.

Diane Brown considers herself a newcomer to the world of photography and art.

The 70-year-old Lee’s Summit High School graduate took up photography 10 years ago to help her cope with her husband’s battle with dementia.

Brown’s journey to artist has come full circle nearly a decade later. The Gamber Center will exhibit more than three dozen pieces of Brown’s photography from July 31 through Oct. 16 as part of the Lee’s Summit Arts Council’s Gamber Center juried rotating art exhibit. The exhibit will kick off with a reception at 6:30 p.m. opening night.

Most of Brown’s photography – described as bright, bold and colorful – will be on sale during the exhibit.

“This is my first exhibit on my own,” Brown said July 28 as she hung pieces of work on the walls at Gamber Center, 4 S.E. Independence Avenue. “I’m nervous as (heck), but I like it. I’m comfortable with other people seeing it. I’ve got so many pictures my house looks like a museum anyway.”

Brown said her husband was the family’s photographer but was never a professional. She took up the hobby once her mate was diagnosed with dementia. In the years since, Brown said she has learned that great photographers don’t look for photo opportunities.

“I’m a newbie,” she said. “I’ve not really had any training. I’ve had art classes years and years and years ago, but not in photography. I don’t specialize in one type of photography because there are too many beautiful things out there.”

Hollie Couch, herself an artist and chair of the Art’s Council’s public arts sub-committee, said Brown’s relative newcomer status is not reflected in Brown’s work.

“What I look for is not necessarily the experience of the artist but the versatility and something really different,” Couch said. “What Diane brought to the table was she did photography but there were all sort of different components in her photography. I believe she is a new artist; this is kind of her first big thing. She had everything from nature scenes all the way down to (a photo of) a neat pair of children’s shoes. She really covered a variety and we wanted to display those things at Gamber Center.”

The exhibit is just the latest in a long list of artists who have applied for the Arts Council’s three-month long juried exhibition. Brown said art in the Lee’s Summit community is as viable and varied as ever.

“Art is something that people do when they have their needs fulfilled,” she said. “Then it becomes a need. We have clothing, shelter; we’re an affluent (community) to the point now that it needs to expand into the arts and music and things like that.”

“There are so many different people that use Gamber Center, so it really kind of exposes people to art that might not have been exposed to or thought much of art,” added Couch. “We try to make sure we draw those people in; unsuspecting fans of art.”

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