Good Shepherd donates signed prints to Eureka Springs Community Center
By Samantha Jones
Thanks to Good Shepherd Humane Society, the Eureka Springs Community Center has some new art to hang in its lobby.
Good Shepherd recently donated several signed and framed prints by Arkansas artist Richard DeSpain to the community center. The prints feature various sites in and around Eureka Springs. Fiona Richards, Good Shepherd's fundraising chairwoman, said volunteers found the prints when looking through art for the Art Barkwalk Sale at the Eureka Springs thrift store.
"Instead of putting them out for the sale, we thought what better fit than to have them hanging at the Eureka Springs Community Center," Richards said. "Just because of the history of this whole building being a school for years and years, I think it's a perfect fit. Not only do they get donated to us, but we're donating them back again."
Catherine Luna, activities director at the community center, said she was happy to hear about the pieces. They were created by DeSpain, Luna said, who took his first art lessons at the YMCA in Blytheville.
"That's a community center, too. We feel like it's a perfect tie-in," Luna said. "We're super excited to tap into the history and legacy here."
The community center's lobby is always open for art exhibitions, Luna said, and features a permanent exhibit when the temporary exhibits aren't put up.
"We're trying to capture these elements of Eureka and honor the history and sustainability of our community," Luna said. "This has been a perfect offering and opportunity, and we're excited to show them and tell people they can exhibit their local art here."
Luna said the community center has an artist exhibition policy, most recently displaying art created by plein air artists.
"We're really happy to be part of the rich artist tradition in Eureka," Luna said, "and especially happy to be doing that with our wonderful friends at Good Shepherd."
Good Shepherd board president Jay Fusaro said it's important for nonprofits to work together.
"We want to have a really good partnership with other organizations in the community," Fusaro said. "Usually, we're on the donating side of items from our stores, so this is a great opportunity for us to find something that fits a local organization we can donate back to."
Luna agreed, saying the community center is grateful for all its community partners. Just recently, Luna said, the community center partnered with Eureka Springs School of the Arts to host a watercolor painting class.
"That's really what community is about –– coming together, finding things we share in common and helping everyone," Luna said. "This is a wonderful example of what a partnership can do. We're so thrilled they brought these pieces in."
For those wondering how they can help the organizations, Richards said volunteerism is important. Good Shepherd is always looking for volunteers at the thrift stores in Eureka Springs and Berryville, Richards said.
"Whether it's just four hours a week doing some sorting or doing some pricing, we're very grateful to have the help," Richards said. "Without the volunteers, we couldn't survive."
"Volunteers are the name of the game at both of our organizations," Luna said. "Actually, one of our volunteers works at Good Shepherd. That's exactly what this community and partnership is about."
Luna continued, "We recognize we are all tied together. We all value certain things, and that's why partnerships like this are so important for our area nonprofits. We get together and support each other in growth and education and sustainability for everyone."