Destination Downtown held its second First Thursday event Thursday, April 4 with the theme focusing on celebrating the arts. This month a handful of businesses participated in the event, offering those who were interested a chance to celebrate the different forms of art.
Inside of Solgarden, local abstract artist Jennifer Shepard had on display several pieces of art she created. Shepard said Kelli [Potter] offered to host her inside the locally-owned shop.
“I’m here to celebrate the arts and brought some of my work to show the community,” she said.
Shepard said she began painting after being diagnosed with cancer and going through chemotherapy.
“I started practicing different types of art, anything and everything to keep myself sane while I was stuck in the house,” Shepard said. “Painting keeps me from being bored. It lets me connect with the community and it gives me a chance to purge emotions.”
Prior to painting Shepard said it had been years since taking an art class and didn’t consider doing until her medical diagnosis.
“I hadn’t taken an art class since elementary school. I was going to be a scientist,” she said. “After, I got hit with bad medical news it forced me to stop and take a break for a while and reflect on what was important in my life.”
Several of Shepard’s paintings are done by a form of fluid painting. “It’s acrylic paints with a runny or thin consistency. The paint is designed to flow and spread easily without sacrificing color intensity,” she explained.
“Fluid acrylics are ideal for pouring or dribbling paint, rather than applying it with a brush. I choose my colors and pour them into a cup and flip the cup upside down on a canvas to create a beautiful piece of art.”
Shepard said the arts are important for an individual’s creativity and gives a chance for people to express themselves.
“It gives us a chance to share our emotions, our feelings and our ideas in a more subtle way. I think it’s good for everybody,” Shepard said.
Currently, Shepard is at Duke working with children who have rare conditions. “Hopefully, the treatments that allow me to come out into the community can allow them a better quality of life as well,” she said.
Shepard also said she has reached out to places and hopes to share her art with charities. “There’s always something you can do to be useful and productive,” she said.
The next First Thursday event will and will take place in June. The theme will be the annual International Promenade.