Has your school been “bearded”?
I met Freeman H. Beard painting an amazing mural on one of the entry hallways at Riverside High School in Durham, NC. You know that feeling when you walk into some schools and see large format paintings encompassing an entire wall, or the lure of huge images that greet you as you stroll the halls of some hospitals, or the interest generated when drive pass an amazing mural painted lavishly on the side of some building? I always think, who did that?! I finally met at least one of those extraordinary artists who adds color and inspiration to our world.
Mr. Beard is quite the philanthropist, giving freely of his talent, his time, his supplies, and his energy by donating a mural to at least one school each year. This year he has offered at least three free murals to what he considers well-deserving schools. His laughter, stories, and enthusiasm hide his exhaustion.
In addition to schools and numerous art galleries, of course, his work can be seen around the world. He described with much enthusiasm, the work he completed in one school in Africa.
Long distance painting requires packing extra supplies to ensure that he can complete his vision without running out of paint in foreign lands.
When asked about his continuing legacy and, in a sense, the lingering immortality he leaves behind when the project is finished and the paint has dried, Beard indicated that we never quite know the impact of our work or our words. Having spent a significant stint as the art director for ABC, he intimated that he once met and had a brief conversation with a fellow artist, who was at the time nine years old. Twenty years later, at a chance meeting at a Miami art exhibit, Beard ran into that artist again. The then twenty-nine year old thanked Beard for his words of inspiration–words, which had encouraged that once nine- year-old to pursue a career of his own as an art director.
We are thrilled at this chance encounter to see Mr. Freeman Beard in action. We thank him for sharing his stories with us, and we celebrate his commitment to sharing his talent with the world–particularly, our public schools. #StoriesofIMPACT