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The word can mean many different things. But to a homeless person, it's something out of reach.

An art exhibit titled "Shelter," featuring paintings and photographs from 20 area artists, kicks off with a reception Friday night at the Evergreen Framing Co. & Gallery in Millcreek and continues through Nov. 18. Proceeds — 20 percent of sales — will benefit the Pamela J. Atkinson Foundation.

"It is a magical word. It means so much if you are homeless, hungry or hovering in the penumbra of poverty," Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said in a recent discussion about the upcoming art show.

Promoting such events is "something I rarely do," Gill said, but this time he felt it was important because of Atkinson's tireless work on behalf of low-income and homeless families and individuals.

"Poverty issues are near and dear to me and I'm a big fan of Pamela," Gill said by phone Thursday. "She is our own Mother Theresa with her generosity of spirit."Atkinson said she was grateful when Evergreen's owners told her what they had in mind.

"I was intrigued by the idea of 20 very talented artists interpreting what shelter is," said Atkinson, a longtime community advocate.

For those down on their luck, shelter might mean the Road Home, a homeless shelter at 210 S. Rio Grande St. However, it could also refer to the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall at 437 W. 200 South, where Atkinson and fellow church members provided dinner Thursday evening.

"That is shelter of a different sort," Atkinson said. "People are hungry for shelter, for warmth, for someone caring about them, for love."

At the urging of Sen. Orrin Hatch, Atkinson formed her foundation in 2011. Donations will be used to fill gaps in funding for the homeless, refugees and those living in poverty.

"We're interested in innovative ideas to serve the homeless and low-income," Atkinson said. "We might give small grants to some of those new ideas."

Both Atkinson and Gill expect the art exhibit to spark ideas about shelter.

About 50 works will be on display and available for sale, varying in size and price, said Evergreen Gallery Director Jodi Steen.

The works are quite diverse, Steen said, offering everything from a pregnant woman to a church and a cave in the Grand Canyon.

Refreshments will be served and donated gift baskets will also be auctioned off at Friday's opening.

"We're really excited to be part of what Pamela Atkinson is doing . . . to help homeless families change their lives," Steen said. "When you're in that kind of position, who can't use that kind of hope?"

Twitter: @catmck —

What is 'Shelter'?

P Art exhibit • Works from 20 area artists depicting shelter in some form, starts Friday and runs through Nov. 18.

Kick-off reception • Friday, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Evergreen Framing Co. & Gallery, Inc., 3295 S. 2000 East in Millcreek.

Proceeds • 20 percent of sales will benefit the Pamela J. Atkinson Foundation.

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