Artist Paul Collins speaks with Kathy Ruple during a reception Sunday at the Bonine House. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)
Artist Paul Collins speaks with Kathy Ruple during a reception Sunday at the Bonine House. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Archived Story

Artist Paul Collins to help out Bonine House

Published 9:25pm Wednesday, October 9, 2013

VANDALIA — Renowned artist Paul Collins has fallen in love with what the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County is doing with the Bonine House.

Collins came to Vandalia over the weekend to hold an art show and sale at the Bonine House.

He found out about the work to restore the home while he attended the 4th annual Underground Railroad Days in July.

“I was invited by some people who have kinfolk here in Cassopolis,” Collins answered when asked how he found out about the celebration. “Lois Hart she has kin in Grand Rapids, so I called Lois. She gave a presentation over at the school. I had done ‘Underground Railroad’ before I even came here and I didn’t realize they were so involved in it.

“All of this came together and it is so fascinating to be here and to hear the history. I was telling somebody, could you imagine if these walls could talk to us and the stories they would tell.”

Collins said it bothers him that people are unable to put aside their differences and work together for the betterment of everyone.

“Through my art, I am trying to get people to realize that if we all took our prejudices and our hates and put them in the garbage can and all get together we could accomplish so much more,” he said. “When you think about it, where has all the bombs and wars gotten us?”

Collins also wants to help children remember their history and that white people helped make the Underground Railroad successful. White people risked their lives to help slaves get to Canada to a community where they could be free.

“It’s not about color,” he said. “It’s about caring. That’s what I live about this because I am able to show when we all get together and put that color thing away what we can accomplish.

“That’s why I wanted to be a part of this.”

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