Monday, June 27, 2011

People Behind the Posts: Heather Richardson, Plank-Painting Organizer

Heather Richardson turned SHAMc's first community art project into a smooth, fun, well-organized event. As thunder and lightening promised rain, Heather set up tents in front of her Whimzeyland studio, Lilikoi, poured paint and gathered brushes.

Along with her dog, Tink, she recently purchased over 150 planks. She primed them all to get ready for Sunday's first hands-on SHAMc community art project.

In fact, "hands-on" is a great description of Heather. She's SHAMc's "right arm," always involved in creative ways to get the word out and to raise funding to make the center a reality. But she doesn't see it as work. "I'm just the messenger," she said. Kiaralinda disagrees. "Heather does whatever needs to be done. She's an integral part of SHAMc."

Kiaralinda and Todd visited The Flying Pig in Algoma, Wisconsin in May and were inspired by an art installment created by the community there. They saw fence posts on display--artwork decorating both sides of each post--and they knew it was something they could take a step further for SHAMc. "We talked to Heather and it just grew from there," said Kiaralinda.

About fifty artists participated in Sunday's "Picket the SHAMc" event, some professional artists having traveled from far away, and even more claiming "I'm not an artist." But all were ready to create a SHAMc fence post . . . even though it rained enough to fill buckets!

Not only is Heather an artist, she has experience running a business--a good thing for SHAMc! Her mom is a potter and Heather ran that business for twenty years. Later, she spent ten years hand-painting silk and did the art show circuit. Now her art is mostly mosaics. "Someday I’d like to make it my job," she said.

Beside her mosaics, Heather expresses creativity as a specialty gardener and landscape designer, and is a member of the Garden Fairies. She also works at E & E Steakout Grill in Belleair Bluffs.

The plans for the posts are not only to border the construction wall around the center. "We hope to put up sections in the linear park on Bayshore so people can enjoy them and start thinking about it, and wonder what they are," Heather said. "Every one of the planks are by people in the community who have participated to beautify the city."

Heather will run a booth at The 8th Avenue Pub this Sunday, July 3rd (more information below). The Pub is hosting a fundraiser to benefit SHAMc. The cover charge is $5.00 and food proceeds will be donated to the Art and Music Center. "We’ll sell T-shirts and people can write on a plank, maybe add something about what art means to them."

Which post did Heather paint? "I had my hands on all of them," she said. But along with friends and fellow artists, Shannon and Siobhan, the three are responsible for the beautiful sign now on the SHAMc property.

"I want families and kids to get involved in this," Heather said. "The most important thing is getting people to know what SHAMc is and getting excited about it. That’s my mission right now."

For more information on this project, contact Heather at IMPURPLE@MAC.COM.

If you are a one of many of our painters, I'd love to write about you. Everyone was an artist on Sunday and we want to know all the "People behind the posts." Please e-mail Laura at LEKSINK@GMAIL.COM if you were one of our participants. There are many stories to follow!

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