Parsons Butler's "Can't Quit My People" Opening Successful

Erica Parsons ButlerErica Parsons Butler's "I Can't Quit My People" gallery opening was a night filled with art, inspiration, and warmth. Many students and community members came to view her works which she affectionately calls "Parsons' People."

Parsons Butler’s pieces center around the eyes. With realistic eyes that draw in viewers, Parsons Butler frames the narrative of her work around them using various colors and brushstrokes. Many paintings had plain backgrounds that allowed the people to stand out. 

Although most of the paintings displayed were of individuals that were stand-alone pieces, Parsons Butler also included two “couples” in the gallery. The oldest works available to view in the gallery were a set depicting a couple - which she painted on cardboard.

“I didn’t originally mean for them to be a pair,” Parsons Butler explained. “But I had finished her and began working on him and realized they paired together.”

Professor Will Hinton and Parsons Butler gave opening remarks to the crowd. Parsons Butler’s sister, who could not make the event, sent her flowers and a small gift as congratulations for opening the gallery. 

Many of Hinton’s students visited the gallery, studying the paintings and discussing how the pieces made them feel. Some students even took out notebooks and sketch pads to take notes or bounce off of Parsons Butler’s works to create their own. Parsons Butler and Hinton also answered questions from gallerygoers throughout the night. 

"Even if I start a painting of flowers or a landscape, it eventually turns into a person," Parsons Butler remarked when asked if she had ever tried to paint something different. 

“I Can’t Quit My People” is on display at the JPAC until March 10, 2023.