In a time when political beliefs seem to be causing a bigger divide more so than ever, Eric Hurnyak wanted to use art to bring people together.
“You keep seeing what’s going on in the press. You keep seeing what’s going on in the world and you can’t help but get upset,” he said. “It’s important right now to keep people inspired and bring them together rather than pulling people into separate corners.”
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That’s exactly what he aims to do with the Long Island Creative Vortex’s latest inspirational project, “Make You Look—A Show of Reflections.” Hurnyak, who started the organization in 2012 to unite and inspire the community through projects, will unveil the interactive art exhibition at the East End Arts Councils 22nd Annual Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival in Riverhead on May 27 (12-5pm).
The exhibition is based on the popular childhood game called “The Circle Game” where one person forms a circle with their index finger and thumb and tries to trick another into looking at it. If the trickster succeeds, the other person loses. Speaking about the game with a friend, Hurnyak began to think of it from an artistic standpoint. “What do we want to make people look at?” Hurnyak said. “Ideally, we want to make people look at themselves.”
To accomplish this, Hurnyak enlisted 20 diverse Long Island-based artists to create their “own reality.” They were instructed to paint, collage and/or add sculpture to a 36×28 custom canvas shaped like the hand from the game. The artists got creative using the theme of “reflections.” After their work was completed, a mirror was added to the center of the canvas to encourage viewers to also reflect on themselves as they view the artwork. “We’re trying to stay away from conveying a message about politics and get more into the message of you don’t have to follow what everybody is forcing down your throat. You have the ability inside yourself to make decisions and create your own reality,” Hurnyak said.
The Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival, which draws thousands of people each year, is an ideal place to showcase the work because it brings people together to have fun and feel inspired just like the Long Island Creative Vortex.