Lowe’s tells Arts of Life: Let’s build something together

NORTHBROOK — John Gerbin, on a visit to the Glenview Public Library, was moved by a painting he had seen in an art show there.

“It was painted by a fellow named Billy Borgerd,” he said.

“I thought it was so cool.”

He had been struck by the composition and use of color in a painting in a temporary show of the North Shore studio of Arts of Life, an organization that brings visual and performance art to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Gerbin bought the painting, which now hangs in his family’s front room.

As it turned out, Arts of Life’s Glenview studio needed some work, and he knows a lot of people who know how to do that kind of work. Gerbin is the delivery manager of the Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Northbrook’s Willow Festival shopping center.

He’s also on the store’s Voice Team, a fixture in the chain of stores that keeps employees abreast of company news, and, he said, “tries to boost morale – people get to know each other well.”

The group also helps plan what might become new missions of the “Lowe’s Heroes” program. That’s how it came to pass that more than a dozen Lowe’s employees wound up at 1963 Johns Drive, Glenview, Aug. 14, repainting the green walls of the Arts of Life gallery-foyer a more gallery-like off-white.

Some of them built a rolling art display wall at the Northbrook store, which they brought over to the studio for painting in its new home.

“It’s not for Lowe’s, it’s for them,” said Lowe’s employee Roger Sullivan, who nevertheless seems to get a big kick out of his company’s outreach program. He had been thrilled to demolish and replace a kitchen in a group home in Skokie, and he said he felt privileged to work at Arts of Life – and apparently at Lowe’s, as well.

He left the company, then came back, and now said, “We feel like a family.”

The work he and his ersatz relatives did Aug. 13 will help prepare for an unusual show at the Glenview studio at 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Sept. 5.

The second annual “Sketchbook Swap Exhibition” is the culmination of five months of North Shore studio artists exchanging work with counterparts in the Chicago studio at 2010 W. Carroll Ave.

“At the end of the project, each artist picks his favorite” work of his “art pen-pal” for the exhibition, Arts Coordinator John Sharp said.

And it helps each artist’s own work to study someone else’s, Development Director Emily Smith said. “They’re inspired by one another,” she said.

The program allows dozens of mostly young people to have a place to find supervised self-expression for about six hours a day.

“I get to draw pictures, and paint, “ Danny Frownfelter said, grinning.

“We have a lot of happy people here,” Smith said.

0 Comments

Do you have the scariest house on the block? Or the cutest kid in costume? Share your Halloween photos with us! Click here to submit them.


Modal