The Liars Bench by Barry Powell
We asked to hear your stories and you obliged! Barry P., better known as “powellfineart” here at Imagekind, has shared his story illustrating how his art has been used for a greater good. We hope these stories will inspire, encourage, and motivate you to do more in your community. We also think it’s important to remind artists that their work is meaningful and affirm what you do! So, let’s start with Barry’s story!
After my employer for 25 years decided to move away and leave me without a job, I decided that it was time to pursue my dream of becoming a full time artist. My first problem was finding a source for some immediate cash. I decided to start teaching some adult drawing classes for a local art organization. Never mind the fact that I had never taught before, I jumped in with both feet and started teaching adult art.
Needless to say, I was scared to death for the first few months of teaching. I was not sure if this was the path which God had planned for me. I had read an article about the qualities needed to be a good teacher in which the author imparted some wisdom to me that I’ll never forget. It was so simple, “you must be willing to share all in pursuit of teaching if you ever wish to become a successful teacher” It made perfect sense to me, so I withheld nothing! I would pour out my heart for the love of art, and my classes became very popular. I had a waiting list from which I filled my classes. I was a success, then why was I still unsure about the good I was doing.
One day, after class, one of my students waited for everyone else to leave so that she could have a word with me. She explained that in the past two years, she had lost a son in a horrible accident, then a few months later, her daughter was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a few agonizing months after that. Her life had now ceased to be worth living. She had no reason to continue, and so her days were filled with the thoughts concerning the manner in which she was going to take her own life.
As she spoke, the tears ran down her cheeks. Then, she explained how a friend had heard about my classes and urged her to join. “It will take your mind off of things” she said, as if all she needed was to stop thinking. She finally gave in to her friends wishes and signed up for one of my classes. After one 6 week session, she signed up for another, then another. She even started taking on commission work for friends. She told me that my enthusiasm and love for art had been so contagious that she was quickly swept into a desire for drawing that soon became the reason she would awaken each day. She had decided that she wanted to live again. Nothing will replace her children, but art has given her a reason to thrive again. Then she gave me a hug and left.
I remained standing there for some time, thinking about what had transpired. I felt truly amazed and blessed to have been a part of this event. It was at this time that I realized that I may not ever make much money in the pursuit of art, but I was serving a much more important purpose in this world. Since that time, I have had many similar stories told to me about the therapeutic qualities of my classes, and I’m happy to say, I’m now starting my sixteenth year of teaching, and I never doubt that I’m dong the right thing anymore.
Through teaching art, Barry truly made the world a little better than when he found it. How often are our lives touched by someone and we never share it with them? Imagine how many other people Barry has inspired through his art lessons. Undoubtedly, one of those students will pass what they learned on to another and Barry’s influence will grow exponentially. That’s what we’re here for folks, to create a spark that will ignite our communities and positively affect all of humankind!
If you have a story of your own you’d like to share, please do so here! Thanks to Barry for taking the time to share this connection with us and for introducing art to the world! Please feel free to browse Barry’s art and if you see something you like, buy it and support his work!