Barry Gross of EXPOSED the Art Project Paints Portrait of Slain Student Lawrence King for Rainbow Memorial

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Painter Barry Gross of EXPOSED the Art Project (http://www.exposedtheartproject.org) will donate a portrait of Lawrence King to the Gay American Heroes’ Rainbow Memorial.

Figurative painter Barry Gross never hesitates to offer his help. So when Gross met with Scott Hall, founder of the Gay American Heroes Foundation (http://www.gayamericanheroes.com) which created the Rainbow Memorial, he immediately volunteered to donate a portrait. He says, “By bringing awareness maybe we can help to stop hatred. Why should anyone hate anyone unless they have nothing better to do or maybe hate themselves. Senseless.”

Gross’ paintings and drawings are owned by such notable collectors as Burt Reynolds and Sir Elton John. For the memorial, his contribution will be a painting of Lawrence King, the gay 15-year-old who was killed by a fellow student in 2008. Brandon McInerney, is charged with first-degree murder for shooting Lawrence King in the head after receiving a Valentine’s Day card from him. The tragic act was committed in school in front of other students. McInerney has pleaded not guilty. The trial has been delayed due to extensive media coverage of the tragedy, which took place in Ventura County, California. To prevent prejudice against the accused the judge agreed to select jurors from neighboring Santa Barbara County.

The Rainbow Memorial is a traveling art exhibit featuring a 7’ x 75’ multi-panel display honoring victims of gay hate crimes. The colored panels on one side of the memorial are arranged to spell out the word “heroes”—defined by the project as anyone with the guts to come out and publicly announce his or her sexual preferences. It also includes the portraits and personal information identifying each individual.

Barry Gross is a member of EXPOSED the Art Project—a multimedia collaboration raising awareness of social issues. Photographers Adela Holmes and Presscott McDonald, painter Viktor Safonkin (Prague), and multimedia artist Neal Fox are the other partners. Using themed art works, the group hopes to inspire and motivate people to get involved. This year’s themes are Social Commentary, Spirituality, Time and Chance, and Metamorphosis. Next year’s themes will include Hate Crimes. As a nonprofit corporation, EXPOSED will donate to various charitable organizations and will start its own artist foundation. To learn more about EXPOSED the Art Project and the individual artists please visit, http://www.exposedtheartproject.org.

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NAOMI FOX

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