For the seventh annual regional art exhibit –– which opens tonight –– the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art (MGMoA) has partnered with the Salvation Army, as well as Shawnee and regional artists to bring attention to the issue of hunger.

The 2015 exhibit, “Doing What We Can to Help,” features art inspired by food or hunger or art that is created from food items such as cans and boxes.

Delaynna Trim, MGMoA curator of collections, said, the program began as a way the museum could do something different, while still providing a venue for local artists and the community to show their work.

“We love that we get to partner with and help other non-profits in our community. We want to give back to the community that supports us,” Trim said.

Museum Curator of Education Donna Merkt said, “It’s always exciting to see the creative ways that artists work with them.”

For this exhibit, art pieces had to reference hunger, food, or the Salvation Army, or the artworks had to include cans or food packaging.

“In the exhibit you may see traditional fruit still life pieces or robots made from empty coffee cans,” Merkt said.

“Some of the artworks are very much addressing the issue of hunger, while others are whimsical creations, like can robots, or a painted cat with cans for eyes,” she said.

The artists are as varied as their art pieces.

The youngest participating artist is age 5; several of the artists are in high school and college, while other participants are professionals, Merkt said.

“During the run of the exhibit, Nov. 6-22, the museum will waive admission for anyone donating canned or non-perishable food items to be distributed by the Shawnee Salvation Army to those in need,” she said. “All food should be dropped off at the museum.”

The museum’s community-minded regional art exhibits started in 2009 with the first “Doing What We Can to Help,” Merkt said. “We felt there was a need in the community for an exhibit of local talent, but we also wanted to meet other community needs and strengthen ties with other community charitable organizations,” she said. “We’ve hosted a variety of these exhibits, one each year, partnering with Salvation Army, Family Promise, Hope House, SPAR, Sustainable Shawnee, and the Pioneer Library Shawnee,” Merkt said.

Past donations have included personal hygiene products, toilet paper, pet supplies, books, toys, and other items needed by the partnering charitable organizations, she said.

This year comes full circle, rotating back to the Salvation Army. Merkt said she hopes to partner with each of the organizations again in the years to come.

“I always enjoy seeing the amazing student work in this exhibit, Midwest City High School, McLoud High School, and Butner High School did some fantastic artworks for this exhibit,” Merkt said.

The exhibit opens at 7 p.m. with a reception hosted by the Friends of the MGMoA.

The reception is free and open to the public, but attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable foodstuffs to kick off the food drive.

For over 100 years, The Salvation Army, Shawnee, has served the community with many services, one of which is assistance with food.

For more information about the Salvation Army, visit

The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is located at 1900 W. MacArthur, on the campus of St. Gregory’s University, in Shawnee.

For more information about the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, visit


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