Art show aims to shed light on Marc Fogel, others wrongfully incarcerated in Russia
Sometimes a little recognition goes a long way.
Marc Fogel, a 1980 Butler Senior High School graduate, was detained in Russia at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport in August 2021 with slightly more than a half-ounce of medical marijuana. After a trial, he was sentenced to 14 years in a Russian prison.
In order to bring some awareness to Fogel and others detained in Russia, Pittsburgh artist Tom Mosser is organizing an event April 1 called “Make Your Marc.” The event calls on local artists to create their own artwork about Fogel that will be on display in the Brightspace Room at the Energy Innovation Center in Pittsburgh.
“I think that anything that would put Marc in the limelight would be good because we don’t want people to forget about him,” said Fogel’s mother, Malphine, of Butler. “I think anytime we can bring his name up in the media it’s a plus.”
Artists of all skill levels are encouraged to attend and show off their work according to Mosser.
“The main goal is get the word out in a professional and respectful manner,” Mosser said. “We hope to get some national attention and maybe other cities will take initiative to do things like this for Marc and others.”
Mosser said the idea came to him one day when he was reading an article about Fogel’s situation, which he then felt inspired to do something.
“I was just compelled to do it,” Mosser said. “There is a lot of great talent in the area and I thought lets gather some people and have them create in whatever form something related to his situation and have an event and do something about this.”
The Fogel family first gave Mosser their blessing before he put his plan into action. He said he is still in the beginning stages of getting things organized.
Mosser said he needs about $6,000 to get the event up and running, which will include catering and ways to help showcase the artist’s work.
“I plan on designing biography signs for each artist that will have a photograph and maybe a short statement on what compelled them to be at the show,” Mosser said.
The event is free to attend and will take place from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. April 1 at the Energy Innovation Center, 1435 Bedford Ave., Pittsburgh.
“It’s an amazing building,” Mosser said. “It’s right downtown above where the Mellon Arena used to be. Huge skylights and windows, and the city is right there. It’s kind of hidden in plain sight.”
The artwork will be shown there to inspire, not to buy.
“It’s not a fundraiser as of now. It’s strictly about coming together and shining a light on Marc,” Mosser said. “I know there are a lot of people that are unfairly incarcerated. This is the cause that I chose, and some artists will consider some justice-themed paintings, sculptures or whatever they plan on making.”
Mosser said he has over 30 artists who have already expressed interest in attending the event, with the goal of reaching at least 50.
Artists interested in showcasing their work can reach out to Mosser on his Facebook page or email him at email@example.com.