By LOIS KINDLE
Thanks to a bunch of local artists who recently donated their time and talent, Laurie’s Magnolia House will soon be a much brighter place for women and children in crisis to stay.
The project, called Brush Strokes of Kindness, was created through a partnership between TD Bank and the Firehouse Cultural Center.
Bonnie Peacock, a member of the Mary & Martha House board, approached Beth Stein, FCC operations manager, about help securing artwork to brighten the walls of the dorm-like rooms of the Ruskin shelter.
“We came up with the idea of asking community artists to come paint together in support of the shelter’s women and children,” Peacock said.
So Stein organized an event at the cultural center on May 17 for that to happen.
One man and more than a dozen women showed up to participate. One participant came all the way from Clearwater. Paints and canvas were provided by the Firehouse, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. TD Bank supplied the artists with food and beverages.
Those who could not attend but wanted to participate painted at home.
Thus far 47 pieces of original artwork have been created in oil, watercolor or acrylics at the event or in home studios. More are expected by an upcoming 3 p.m. June 1 deadline, Stein said.
“It’s amazing the amount of talent this community has,” Stein said. “We were genuinely surprised by how many artists turned out and the number of pieces they created.”
By all accounts, the event was successful.
“We’re extremely grateful for this collaboration with the Firehouse Cultural Center for making Laurie’s Magnolia House a welcoming and more beautiful place to stay, while our clients embark on their new beginnings,” Peacock said.
“We feel this is just the beginning of many more similar collaborations in the future,” Stein said. “The possibilities are endless.”
The Firehouse Cultural Center, 101 First Ave. NE, Ruskin, will host an open house June 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. for the public to view the artwork before it goes to the shelter. Admission is free.
TD Bank Sun City Center, 3726 State Road 674, Suite 101, already has some of the paintings on display. The public is encouraged to stop by during regular business hours.
For more information on this or any of the wide array of Firehouse Cultural Center events or programs, visit www.firehouseculturalcenter.org or call 813-645-7651.