Journey in Their Shoes

To truly understand someone, you “walk a mile” in his shoes. That’s the idea behind “Journey in Their Shoes,” an exhibit that tells the tale of local Toledoans, opening March 15 at Heart Gallery and Studios in St Paul’s Lutheran Church on Erie Street in downtown Toledo.

Shoes tell a story

Pairs of shoes will be displayed, accompanied by a narrative that provides a glimpse into the wearer’s daily life. This show’s importance is its exploration of the lives the individuals live, the stories they share, through the words offered to readers, showing everything from accomplishments to failures, with life in between. The narratives chronicle moments of unbridled joy, examples of challenges they have faced, regrets for not taking more steps in the shoes they wore and times when they realized just how far their footwear got them.

Kate Philabaum, St Paul’s director of art ministries, explains that the church wanted a way to bring the community together so, through hard work and perseverance, members created Heart Gallery and Studios in the church building’s former educational wing. Now, through this exhibit and others like it, they hope to “celebrate the diverse Toledo we share,” according to Philabaum. “Each piece represents a Toledoan’s successes and struggles, something we can all relate to and understand in our hearts. Making that connection is so important to humanize our neighbor and continue building this city up to where we want it to be.”

Kate Philabaum, Director of Art Ministries at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
Kate Philabaum, Director of Art Ministries at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Everyone has a Journey

Toledo’s variety of citizens is well represented in this show. From athletes to teachers, medical professionals to local activists, these shoes, Philabaum hopes, will be a “vehicle of conversation” across lives and professions. Stories of love, like the one attached to a pair of stained heels from a clumsy marriage proposal, and heartache, like those that belong to a PICU nurse are displayed side by side.

Photographic works by James Dickerson accompany the footwear, including black-and-white portraits of Toledo residents, which continue the storytelling.

March 15-17
5-8pm, Thursday and Friday
11am-2pm, Sunday

Heart Gallery and Studios, 428 N. Erie St.
419-243-4214 |

Free, but there will be a donation basket to help cover costs of drinks and snacks provided during the showings.