Lily Tackett artwork in “Wells of Inspiration" at the Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy -- through 27.

Through Thursday, May 27

Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy, 2967 State Street, Bettendorf IA

One of the largest and most moving exhibitions yet to be housed in Bettendorf's Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy, the exhibit Wells of Inspiration (on display through May 27) will boast photographs by Willie Herath and portraits by students connected by the water crisis in Africa and the humanitarian efforts of Moline nonprofit Wells 4 Wellness.

Pat Herath, executive director and founder of Wells 4 Wellness, met with artist, teacher, and gallery owner Pat Beréskin, and together they had the idea of taking photographer Willie Herath’s images of natives in Niger, Africa and using them as inspiration for students to make portraits. Willie is Pat Herath’s son, and both his photographs and the students' portraits will be shown in the Wells of Inspiration exhibit designed to help raise money for a well to be drilled at a school in Niamey, Africa. Funds raised will also allow for the creation and implementation of a water tower, solar panel, and solar pump, and as Pat Herath states, “When the thought of water comes up, we do not second-guess about it being clean and safe to drink. However, those in Niger simply do not have that luxury. The luxury of water to them is a necessity to us.”

Wells 4 Wellness is a nonprofit organization based in Moline, which is committed to providing clean drinking water to the impoverished nation of Niger. It has raised $5,000 toward its goal of $8,000 for the new well at the school in Niamey in Niger, where fewer than half of the country's population of 20 million have access to clean water, and it’s that estimated that one out of four children dies before the age of five. As Pat Beréskin says of the young artists whose works will be showcased in Wells of Inspiration, “Children here can certainly understand the need for water. We have hammered into their heads for over a year the importance of hand washing and cleaning work spaces. What if you had no water to do either of those, especially during the pandemic?”

Sherry Tang artwork for "Wells of Inspiration"

Regular gallery hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the gallery also open by appointment, and masks and social distancing are required per the Beréskin COVID policy. For more information on the Wells of Inspiration exhibition on display through 27, call (563)508-4630 and visit BereskinArtGallery.com.

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