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Exhibit highlights struggles of two artists who endured painful childhoods



A pair of creative artists proves there is no age limit or requirement for expensive materials to become a real artist.

Barbara Robinette Moss and Kate Rivers are two inspirational women who have focused on painful personal childhood experiences for the sake of art.

The Eleanor Kirkpatrick Gallery in the City Arts Center at State Fair Park, 3000 General Pershing, is showing "Moss & Rivers: The Art of Barbara Robinette Moss and New Work by Kate Rivers," highlighting the background, techniques and emotions of these two artists in an exhibit on display through Nov. 7.

Moss developed a sense for the arts as early as second grade in an attempt to connect with her mother, who often drew pictures for her eight children. As a child of an abusive, alcoholic father, Moss describes her childhood as chaotic, but realizes how lucky she and her siblings were to escape unscathed. Her work focuses on the memories and deep connections she experienced throughout these years. She also wrote a memoir titled "Change Me into Zeus's Daughter," a more concrete expression of her traumatic childhood.

Rivers uses fragments of stamps, notes, maps and other travel-themed tidbits to create natural collages " beautiful pieces comprised of household items others would simply throw into the trash. She said the small bits of paper represent money used for food and entertainment " components that many people believe provides a more fulfilled lifestyle.

But the main focus of Rivers' work, like Moss, is her memory of growing up. She moved around several times throughout her childhood " an experience that often left Rivers unsure as to where her home was, or if she even had one.

"Just that whole sense of 'home' becomes something quite different," she said.

Admission is free, and the City Arts Center is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 951-0000.

"Paige Lawler

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