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Artist Spotlight: Loel Barr

Artist Loel Barr has four works in ART & WORDS. Three were chosen by poets as inspiration for new poems and one was matched with a poem. All are exhibited side-by-side with Loel's work. Emerge Gallery's ART & WORDS is an exhibition of artwork and poetry inspiring one another. Area artists and poets were invited to participate by submitting existing work as inspiration, and also creating new work inspired by submissions. Artwork by participating artists was chosen by poets who created new poetry inspired by their selection. Artists were also given the opportunity to create new art inspired from submitted poems by participating poets.

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"Leaving Kansas"

Mixed Media


The dream that

comes in the barn

in the night

with Marie

and travels the road

when no one else

is admiring the purple heaven

thinking how someday

someday it might

part for us

might take us

yes just like that

everywhere and nowhere

all at once

the dream

the dream that is Kansas

— Allen Shadow ©

inspired by "Leaving Kansas" by Loel Barr ©

Poet Allen Shadow discusses Loel Barr's "Leaving Kansas", the inspiration for his poem "The Dream" written for the exhibition ART & WORDS.

Additional work by Loel Barr included in ART & WORDS

"Untitled (The Bridesmaids)"

Mixed Media





Blurred heart scars

and duty

pride and show

all called to let her go

Weddings galore

— never their own

everyone but them

the reasons unknown

is it my chubby thumb?

perhaps it’s my thing with the rum

maybe I’m just plain dumb

I don’t care

— says another one

Prozac made me numb

The truth rubs with burn

as they await their turn

down the long aisle

for the one who won’t falter

upon the vows at the altar.

— Nathalie Vassallo and Monica Teresa Fiorentini ©

inspired by "Untitled (The Bridesmaids)" by Loel Barr ©


Take note!

The sisterhood of women stands strong

Though diverse in age, background and status.

We are bonded, determined -

A howling chorus of voices primed

To fend off the inhumanities

The inequities

The chaos and wrenching sadness

Infecting the world which begs for a moral compass.

Join us? For as the Hopi elders once said,

"The time of the lone wolf is over."

— Barbara Mindel ©

inspired by "Untitled (The Bridesmaids)" by Loel Barr ©

"Untitled #1"

Mixed Media


Memory spotty, memory blurred.

Memory once in brilliant color

turned dull now to black and white

and grey pervades all I can remember

of that family day in the summer of '49

when, despite the heat, the men wore suits

and ties; the women—all three generations

of them—in dresses and heels. Why

can't I remember the reason, the occasion

for this gathering? I'm sure I was told

once, but the years and decades have burned

away, and all I have now is this photo:

my family in two rows sit and stand, against

the wall of some grandaunt's or distant cousin's

house. Where are they now, these forebears

to my own story today? They weaned and taught

me the lesson of family, so solid, but now—so

few are left—dissolving like this fading image.

— Patrick Hammer, Jr. ©

inspired by "Untitled #1" by Loel Barr ©




Like sleight of hands fluttering

these incandescent wings

of the dragonfly spread

fire in the night

I am with you dragon

scaling the heights of air

breathing flame over the other

spirits of insects and plants

You carry the elements

I am in awe

a balm to my own

spirit and eye

I follow you through the garden

drinking you in deeply

your breath flicking inside me

nothing is ever as it seems

— Patrick Hammer, Jr. ©


Loel Barr is a Kansas native, daughter of a physics professor and an at-home mom, who traveled extensively and lived in New Zealand before spending most of her adult life in the Washington DC area, where she raised two children, Jessica and Alexander. She has recently moved to the Hudson Valley, where she discovered she is a descendent of Henry Hudson’s brother. She lives in Saugerties.

Barr received her MFA from Wichita State University and established a very successful career as an award-winning freelance illustrator, working for national clients including The Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic, Time Life Books, and numerous publishers and agencies. She continues to work as an illustrator but her focus is now on her own explorations in paint, collage, and sculpture.

Additional works by Loel Barr

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