WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Never forget.
Sadly, we hear this all the time as we mark countless anniversaries of tragedies in America and across the world. They’re all a part of our history and deserve a permanent place of honor in our memory.
An Ohio Valley artist and educator is bringing back memories from the horrors of the Holocaust, making sure we never do forget.
You’re not going to see what people would call beautiful art. You’re going to see art that is going to make you question things.Russ Schultz, Artist
“Lest We Forget” is full of haunting black and white artwork.
It’s array of pieces meant to provoke thoughts and questions about the Holocaust.
I’ve never been very materialistic, but it made me even less materialistic because things are just things and people are lives are precious.Russ Schultz, Artist
Behind it all is artist Russ Schultz.
For the last 30 years the Wheeling Park High School Art Teacher has studied the Holocaust.
A few years ago he walked on the same ground where millions were murdered. Schultz was chosen in 2019 for a scholarship through Classrooms without Borders. He traveled to Poland and toured concentration camps.
It was life changing.Russ Schultz, Artist
That trip inspired Schultz to create “Lest We Forget”.
It’s a collection of nearly 50 works of art across all media and styles.
While each piece has a message, there are a few that really speak to Schultz, like “The Only Exit is Through the Chimney”, which was inspired by a Holocaust survivor and “Sojurn”, which is the final piece in the collection.
Originally it was about the survivors and what happened to the survivors once they were liberated and long walks back to where the came from; walking alone, looking for their families, wondering what was going to be left when they got back and kind of questioning the future.Russ Schultz, Artist
Schultz said that as he began to create this particular piece, it also became about his own personal journey.
Each work of art inspires a different thought all leading to the same message.
There’s no room in this world for hate. That’s why if you look at all the paintings in the series there’s only one Swastika. It is about the Nazis and the Jewish people, but it could be about any people at any time. That’s the important thing to realize is that ‘Lest We Forget’ this could all happen again.Russ Schultz, Artist
If you’d like to walk through this powerful display, “Lest We Forget” is on display at the Towngate Theatre until November 21st.