Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

Artist-athlete’s exhibition centers on today’s slavery

Artwork of Whetsell Fellow Josh Holt ’14 on exhibit through Dec. 12

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Josh Holt '14, student, athlete and artist.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – In the world today, 27 million people are enslaved by sex trafficking, child labor and other forms of bondage, a fact that Wofford College senior Josh Holt wants people to remember as they look at his artwork.

This year’s Whetsell Fellow, Holt has a solo exhibition in the Martha Cloud Chapman Gallery in the Campus Life Building through Dec. 12. An artist’s reception is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, in the gallery. Both the reception and the exhibition are free and open to the public.

The Whetsell Fellowship enables a Wofford student to study in the summer some aspect of the visual arts, with the study leading to an exhibition on the campus during the following school year. Holt, a Spanish major from Atlanta, Ga., who also plays safety on the Terriers football team, spent the summer working with artist Dawn Dickins, concentrating on charcoal studies exploring primarily the theme of human trafficking around the world.

The 16 pieces of artwork in the exhibition are done in charcoal on a variety of canvases, including plywood and paper.

The issue of sex trafficking and other forms of slavery has been a focus for Holt since he began researching the topic last year, using it as part of the basis for his application for the Whetsell Fellowship. “I remember this saying, ‘Know your burden and you will find your passion.’ My burden was sex trafficking and those in it,” he says. “My passion was to combine my art with this horrid creature, and using my art and others’ to shine light on it.”

Proceeds from the sale of his artwork will go to the International Justice Mission, which provides transitional homes for those affected by sex trafficking and lawyers to prosecute the johns and pimps who perpetuate it.