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AUBURN | An ongoing art exhibition organized by an Auburn religious society digs into personal expressions of love of all kinds.

Nine individuals have contributed to the second annual "Standing on the Side of Love" exhibit at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Church. The showcase, which opened Sunday, brings paintings, crafts and other submissions together as artistic expressions of the titular phrase, according to Kathy Haendle.

"With 'Standing on the Side of Love,' we wanted people to reach into themselves and express what that meant to them," said Haendle, the exhibit's curator. "And each of these pieces is a reflection of what 'Standing on the Side of Love' means to that particular person. So it's very individualized."

"Standing on the Side of Love" is part of a monthly series of art showcases held by the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Church. Organizers said the next in March will be an exhibit of artwork by Port Byron middle and high school students.

"Standing on the Side of Love" is the name of a nationwide social justice campaign by the Unitarian Universalist Association, affiliated with movements such as Black Lives Matter. However, the Auburn society's art exhibition is not entirely related, Haendle said.

Pieces in the exhibit may invoke humanitarian themes, but Haendle said the overall body of work broaches a wide variety of meanings depending on the artist — as well as the audience's perspective.

"It's really given people an opportunity to express themselves in a very intimate way," she said. "When you read (the captions for) some of these pieces, it's personal. For everybody else, they get to know the person a little more. That connection, person to person, is important."

For artist Sally Stormon, she said she presented multiple submissions to capture her meaning of "Standing on the Side of Love" for her second year of participation.

Two of those contributions are paintings of her own design representative of her love for creative expression, she said. A separate submission of a photo album and other materials shows Stormon's trip last year to El Salvador with the San Pedro Sister Community to meet the villagers of San Pedro — a personal, moving experience, she described.

"Everybody's work has a depth this year," Stormon said. "Everybody had a year to think about it — and it shows in the depth and range of expression."

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Staff writer Greg Mason can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or greg.mason@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenMason.

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