WHEELING, W.Va. — On Thursday, The Mother Jones Center for Resilient Community (The MoJo) will be dedicating its gallery as The Bill Hogan Community Gallery in honor of Wheeling native, Bill Hogan.
Hogan’s commitment to building community through relationships, using art as a resilience tool, and his advocacy for recovery inspired the dedication of The MoJo’s gallery space.
“We knew we wanted to have a specific area to showcase local artists of all ages who do not always have a venue to exhibit their work. We know having a platform to tell our stories, be it through words, music, or visual arts, is part of healing and building a resilient community. Bill has so often taught us how important this is and will continue to do so through this gallery,” says Kate Marshall, Executive Director of HoH-Share Inc.
In East Wheeling, many of the urban neighbors are immortalized by Bill “Sketch” Hogan’s pen and ink drawings. Often these portrait sessions happen very informally around a table, on the sidewalk, at a farmstand, and tend to be an opportunity to draw out the individual’s story.
“It seems Bill Hogan is always drawing us. He draws our picture, but he also has a way of drawing out our stories, drawing out our dreams, drawing us into community, and most of all, drawing us into wanting to love those around us and to be our best selves. He draws us into his heart and encourages us. Perhaps that is his greatest art,” says Marshall.
Located on 14th Street in East Wheeling, the MoJo is part of the local non-profit HoH-Share Inc. The site will be the headquarters for two of their collaborative projects that the 91-year-old Hogan has been an integral part of: The Fun-Raiser Urban Mobile Playground and Art-Share. The MoJo uses art, education, creativity and compassionate play to strengthen and heal at-risk populations in Wheeling.
Additionally, the facility has a long history of being a place of wellness. The location served as Wheeling’s original Health Right Free Clinic, and then through the collaboration of Laughlin Community Center and Wheeling Jesuit University, it became The Mother Jones House, a housing facility for students willing to live a life of service in East Wheeling.
In the early 1970s, it played a significant role in Bill Hogan’s life. The building was the law office of a friend who encouraged him to go to rehab for alcoholism. The decision made that day on 14th Street would change not only Hogan’s life, but the countless lives, foundations, and non-profits he has worked with. He recently received his 49 years of Sobriety Coin from Alcoholics Anonymous.
Following the dedication of The Bill Hogan Community Gallery, a private exhibit of Hogan’s drawings, writings, interviews, and photos will be on display. The installation will remain until November 14th.
Those interested in making an appointment to view the installation should email TheMoJoCRC@gmail.com for details.