Friends in Action (#Clubhouse) art show returns Friday


The Eighth Annual Friends in Action Clubhouse Art Show and Sale will be sporting a number of changes Friday night when it moves to a new day and a new location — the Farmington Public Library.

“The art show will be taking place from 5 to 8 p.m.,” said Anna Portell, FIAC director. “We’re encouraging people to check out the new library prior to the art show being held in the library meeting room.

“The reason we moved the day of this year’s event from Saturday to Friday is because we know that once people are home for the weekend, there’s so much going on that sometimes it’s hard to leave the house again to attend another event.

“We thought that, for people who do work, they can come to the art show straight from their job. It’s more of an evening type of event, so hopefully it will be more convenient for the public.”

Portell explained that this year’s art show and sale will feature a mixture of old familiar favorites, as well as some new things FIAC hasn’t tried before.

“At the show we’re going to have artwork available to purchase for a set price, which is what we’ve always done, but this year we’re adding a silent auction that’s new. The live auction, which we’ve had in the past, will take place again this year, but Mark Toti has agreed to be our auctioneer, so it should be a lot of fun.”

Portell is especially excited about several club members who will be adding something special to this year’s show.

“One of our clubhouse members — Valerie — will be starting with a blank piece of paper and then create a piece of artwork that night using pastels,” she said. “Then we’ll have a drawing for someone to win that piece, along with matting and framing from the clubhouse. Then, another one of our clubhouse artists — Curtis — is going to be drawing caricatures.”

According to Portell, the live auction will take place in the library’s large community room, along with Curtis and his caricatures. In addition, some of the clubhouse members’ artwork — along with children’s artwork — will be set up in a separate area.

“There’s also a little café area where we’re going to have music performed by The Simpletons, along with some light refreshments,” she said. “Valerie will be in that area creating her pastel. Another room will feature the priced items. You can just take it and go. We’ll have people there who can help you get it to your car. A third room will have the silent auction. So, there will be four small sections instead of just one large room.”

Portell said the most important change that should be evident to all at this year’s art show and sale is that the quality of artwork presented and the artists participating are being “kicked up a notch.”

“This year we’re received huge interest from artists in the community, along with our clubhouse members,” she said. “We just brought in a delivery this morning of 10 or 11 pieces from the Ste. Genevieve Art Guild that they’ve donated. We’re real pleased to see the community support and very renowned artists contributing a piece.

“The artwork we’ve had in the past has always been great. The art show has always had two purposes — one is to kick that stigma that a person with a mental illness doesn’t have talent and we definitely want to keep doing that.

But there’s also the fundraising side of it. That’s why we’re bumping up the quality by asking the community to wrap its arms around the clubhouse and support mental health and our efforts in fundraising. It’s for that reason we’ve really tried to increase the quality while decreasing the quantity.”

Portell added that there are a number of returning community artists, as well as some that will be first-timers at this year’s show and sale.

“We definitely want to say ‘thank you’ to them,” she said. “Many, many artists will be there that night and they will be wearing a name badge type, so you can actually meet and talk with them that night also. In the past we’ve had artists there, but there was nothing to identify them as an artist.”

In addition to new artists, there will also be new types of art on display and available for purchase at the show that will include stained glass, pottery, photography and jewelry.

Returning artists include Brandon Warren, Steve Warren, Deanne Hansen, Tom Conboy, Tom McFarron and Ute Woods. New artists are Nancy Boevingloh, Pattie Smith, Restorative Justice at Bonne Terre, Social Rehabilitation Unit at Farmington, Leanne Johnson, Larry Lacy, Suzie Eatson, Megan Brock, Jane Cook, Connie Thatcher, Diane Tessman and Dianne Dickerson.

FIA Clubhouse is a psychosocial rehabilitation center operated by BJC Behavioral Health that provides a place for those with severe mental illness to socialize, participate in activities, build life skills and gain independence. Money raised from the art show will go toward a new FIA Clubhouse to be built in Farmington.

For additional information about the art show, call 573-431-9620.

Source: Friends in Action art show returns Friday