Thursday, August 21, 2008

Give it Away and You Shall Enjoy Mortality



Back in the day when I was working as editor of a, what they call in the trade, "shelter," magazine I had the privilege to meet artist Benini and his wife Lorraine. At that time they were living in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas and if not solely responsible for the upswing of the downtown area, they were certainly a driving force in breathing new life into the urban setting of the only National Park in the country that has an urban setting.

It has been my experience that our homes truly are a reflection of our personalities, and artists I find, as a rule, have fascinating homes. Benini and Lorraine's home was no exception to this rule. In addition to the exotic atmosphere,on the second-story flat with the gallery below at street level, Benini had a library of thousands of volumes which he shared openly with anyone interested in benefiting from this collective knowledge. Benini and Lorraine not only actively promote his work, but encourage the success of other artists with their frequent ARTS Encounters at their Sculpture Ranch in Texas hill country, a piece of property once owned by President Lyndon Johnson. While Benini is an accomplished artist, it is in this spirit of "giving it away" that he has prospered. And giving credit where credit is due, Lorraine creates an environment of generosity throughout their endeavors.

Someone recently sent me a memo, "give it away and you shall enjoy mortality." Benini and Lorraine certainly fall under this category. And while immortality is a lofty goal, giving it away, or sharing one's life experiences is a rewarding endeavor in and of itself. We share with you now, a presentation sent to us by Lorraine, and hope you come to enjoy and know the work that is Benini.

(c) 2008 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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