The Tri-Cities isn’t necessarily thought of as a place rich in diversity.
But, said artist Felicia Follum, perhaps it should be.
She and her husband have made good friends across many different cultures, religions and socioeconomic stations since they moved to the area a couple of years back.
Their lives have been enriched by the diversity they’ve found here, she said.
Follum explores that diversity in a series of paintings on display this month at Allied Arts’ Gallery at the Park in Richland.
Her work is being featured alongside an Empty Bowls exhibit, which raises awareness about world hunger and brings in donations for the Tri-Cities Food Bank.
Follum said her work and the Empty Bowls project complement each other.
“It’s a great example of a lot of artists in the community coming together,” she said.
The work is on display through Feb. 24. A reception is from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 5 at the gallery, 89 Lee Blvd.
Follum, 28, a South Dakota native, moved to the Tri-Cities from Laramie, Wyo., with her husband, Jim, more than 2 years ago.
Felicia Follum hopes her work inspires Tri-Citians to reach out across cultures, religions and walks of life in their own backyard.
They quickly became involved in the community.
Follum volunteers with Family Learning Center in Kennewick, which provides ESL classes and other educational support for refugees. She has also helped with outreach to the homeless.
And she and her husband take part in international dinners that bring people of different cultures together. They’ve welcomed people from more than 14 different countries into their home in the last several months alone.
Follum said her paintings are “responding to the people I’ve met. The stories of refugees, the homeless population,” and all the meals she’s shared with people from different backgrounds.
Felicia Follum said her paintings are “responding to the people I’ve met. The stories of refugees, the homeless population,” and all the meals she’s shared with people from different backgrounds.
Embracing and celebrating diversity is important, she said.
“It’s one of the best ways to grow,” she said. “You learn so much from people you disagree with. It’s a good thing to be with people who are different than you.”
Follum hopes her work inspires Tri-Citians to reach out across cultures, religions and walks of life in their own backyard.
“I did a lot of traveling before we moved here. I think traveling has helped me see the beauty of the U.S. and our diversity here. But you don’t have to travel far to interact with people who are different than you,” she said. “That’s diversity, embrace it.”
Follum’s paintings include acrylic and watercolor pieces.
Felicia Follum’s work is being featured alongside an ‘Empty Bowls’ exhibit, which raises awareness about world hunger and brings in donations for the Tri-Cities Food Bank.
The Empty Bowls exhibition features bowls of various sizes, handmade by local artists. Some of them were made during a workshop at the gallery last month.
The bowls are for sale, with the money going to the Tri-Cities Food Bank.