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The Hinsdalean • February 15, 2018 • Page 7

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HPL art exhibit offers new perspective

After Supper Visions program gives Catholic Charities clients more than just a camera

By Pamela Lannom



McDaniel was volunteer-

ing with Catholic Charities’

Tuesday Night Suppers in

2014 when she first learned

about the After Supper

Visions program. Armed with

a camera and basic train-

ing from a volunteer photo

team, interested supper cli-

ents are sent out to explore

the diverse subject matter

offered by the city of Chicago.

The artists then are able

to showcase their work at

special exhibits and sell their

work online.

“I was able to meet the art-

ists on a weekly basis and talk

to them during the dinner

and really learn about their

back story,” said McDaniel,

who serves on the Hinsdale

Public Library Board. “When

I was elected to be one of the

co-chairs of the art commit-

tee, this immediately popped

into mind.”

Other members of the




agreed, as did Executive

Director Karen Kleckner


“We looked at some of the

images from their exhibit

online and read about the

program,” Keefe said. “There

was unanimous agreement

that not only the quality of

the artwork but the mission

of the organization would be

a good fit for our exhibit.”

The exhibit at the Hinsdale

Public Library opens with

a special artists reception

tonight (see Page 18 for

details). Guests can view the

20 photographs on display

and talk with the three artists,

who are expected to attend.




has volunteered with the

Catholic Charities program

since it began in 2003, said it

has given volunteers and cli-

ents an opportunity to con-

nect in a meaningful way.

“It just began as a photo

project and it’s evolved into

this incredible ministry of

meeting people with such

profound needs in a very

unique way through the cre-

ative process,” she said.

Helping people who had

little to no experience with

photography was not at all

difficult, O’Connor said.

“I think what really helped

was we just all slowly devel-

oped friendships and rela-

tionships,” she explained. “I

think that is why (volunteer)

Ellen Gorney really began the

project. She wanted to relate

to clients in a different way

besides (meeting) the pro-

found needs.”

One of the artists whose

work will be displayed at the

library is Mike Becker, who

has participated in the pro-

gram since 2009. Paralyzed

after a diving accident and

struggling with housing, he

eventually found a room at

a YMCA. Someone he met

there told himabout Catholic

Charities evening suppers,

where he discovered more

than physical nourishment.

“For me, taking photos

is about doing something

positive with my time,” he

wrote in an essay for Catholic

Charities. “The people who

are involved in the program

and the volunteers who lead

it are very positive people,

and when you’re struggling,

or for people who are home-

less, you need an environ-

ment to keep you moving


Proceeds from photo sales

have allowed Becker to pur-

sue a previously undiscov-

ered passion.

“He has bought camer-

as, he has bought lenses, he

has bought a computer and

spends most of his life pho-

tographing,” O’Connor said.

The program also gives

participants a chance to feel

pride. O’Connor recalled

a telling comment from

Deborah: “I’ve never had

anyone believe so much in

me as you guys do.”

McDaniel plans to bring

her three children ages 9-13

to the exhibit and believes

it will resonate with people

of all ages. She said she’s

thrilled to have friends and

neighbors learn how the pro-

gram benefits participants.

“This is giving people an

opportunity to really make

their own way in the world

and teaching them a skill and

providing themwith the tools

they need,” she said.

Keefe said seeing the pho-

tos up close crystallized her

appreciation for the pro-


“The pieces that we chose

for this exhibit were some of

the strongest of what were

submitted to us, and I think

they showed everybody on

the committee that anybody

— if you give them a chance

— is capable of incredible

things,” she said. “It’s very



Mike Becker and Deborah A. are two of three artists whose work — includ-

ing this photo by Deborah — is on display in the Quiet Room at the Hinsdale Public

Library as part of the After Supper Visions exhibit, which runs through March 30. Pieces

from all participating photographers will be on display at an exhibit like the one shown

here from June 8-10 at Catholic Charities, 721 N. LaSalle St., Chicago. For more infor-

mation or to purchase artwork, visit

(photos provided)