ALTON – Art can be an empowering form of expression and communication, and under capitalist systems like the United States, can even function as a way to make a living.
All of these aspects of art will be on display on May 9 at Old Bakery Beer Company through a showcase called “I'm an Artist,” which will feature a variety of artists who are residents at the Godfrey-based Beverly Farm. Beverly Farm representative Cody Buttry-Hinkle said the program came into being around seven years ago, and has been growing since its implementation – mostly at the behest of the residents participating. She said residents had always had access to drawing and painting, but wanted more ways to express themselves.
“We had some art supplies donated and they started painting and even selling some of their works,” she said.
Works done by the residents can be found in the Village of Godfrey's municipal offices as well as in the office of U.S. Congressional Representative Rodney Davis. Buttry-Hinkle said the works are sold across the country, mostly to family members and local groups.
To broadcast their works to the greater Riverbend area, the artists have planned a showcase at Old Bakery. This is not a traditional gallery and the main objective is not to sell their art, but instead for people from the community to meet these talented individuals and discuss what they are expressing with their works.
The program has plans to expand as well, as it was awarded $3,000 after being named the non-profit of the year in 2017 by the Riverbend Growth Association's young adult committee. That money was used to expand the program to include photography.
In the future, Riverbend residents can expect to see some of these photos on localized greeting cards. Buttry-Hinkle said landmarks such as the Clark Bridge and Haskell House may be featured on some of these upcoming cards, potentially available as early as this summer at various locations.
“They're really trying to step it up and run it like a business,” she said. “They do it on their own with a bit of help from the administration. It's their program, and they're super proud of it.”
More information on the program can be found by contacting the program's director, Krista Kell via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Cory Davenport can be reached via call or text at (618) 419-3046 or via email at email@example.com.