A hero is admired for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities. We recognize our heroes because they inspire us and call us to follow their leads—to use our talents and be our best selves.
Each year since 2012, a new group of Carthage Heroes, past and present, has been named and added to the Hall of Carthage Heroes. You can find their pictures and stories on display when you visit Fair Acres Family YMCA.
In 2019, beloved Carthaginian and artCentral artist Lowell Davis, who was laid to rest just last week, was tapped as a Hero and inducted into the Hall of Carthage Heroes. Among this year’s inductees is Andy Thomas, another artCentral artist and native son, a man near and dear to the heart of Lowell Davis. You can see the breadth and depth of Andy’s art and achievements and honors when visiting www.andythomas.com.
I love the story Andy tells of how badly he wanted to be successful enough to make painting his fulltime career and the sole means for supporting his family. For sixteen years while working his day job for Leggett & Platt, he went home to paint late into the night.
Andy was inspired when he met Lowell Davis, Bob Tommey and Jerry Ellis. They were making their livings painting full time and supporting their families. Though Andy thought, “I can do this, too,” he wasn’t fully convinced until he and Lowell had a three hour heart-to-heart talk in Lowell’s drafty old farmhouse. When Andy left that initial visit, he says there were two people in the world—Lowell and Andy—who truly believed in his ability to achieve his dream.
In pursuit of his own holy grail Andy set out on his quest supplied and suited out with his natural talents and riding a steed of passionate determination. Increasingly he grew confident in his ability to achieve his goals. Meeting his wife and muse Dina brought the special magic his journey needed. Traveling in a partnership of equals they found their diverse talents and skills made them the perfect business partners to go forward together, to succeed in manifesting their shared dreams and to enjoy a comfortable life of their own making.
Andy’s advice to painters aspiring to success: “You are successful because you keep going. You have to want to be better. A positive attitude goes a long, long way. Put on a happy smile and surround yourself with positive thinking and positive speaking people.” Dina emphasizes: “Modesty and self-criticism do not sell art. If you cannot say something nice about your art, do not say anything at all!”
Andy believes he was blessed with good parents because Clarke and Olive Thomas taught him that family comes first. Today he and Dina have six children and eleven grandchildren with whom their lives are beautifully interwoven. Andy likes to give drawing lessons to the youngsters who often hang out in his studio. The glimpses of talent he sees are his best rewards. Perhaps because of Andy’s generosity, future heroes are already sitting at their grandfather’s feet.
Andy is generous with his family and with artCentral, too! For this year’s Silent Auction Fundraiser Andy has created yet another remarkable donation. “Freedom” is the title of his watercolor painting masterfully rendered as is every work that comes out of Andy’s studio. Strutting and high-stepping across the picture plane, back dropped with a lush green forest, a singular turkey is colorfully, brilliantly painted with Andy’s signature panache. This masterwork from the brush of a Carthage Hero is in Hyde House waiting to be carried home as your treasure. The opening bid is set at $300.00. The “Buy Now” bid is $1,800.00. Will you be the fortunate patron who snatches up this prize?
Through Saturday, December 5, Weekend Gallery Hours are each Friday and Saturday from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. with CDC protocols practiced at artCentral. Face masks, social distancing and sign in are required for everyone entering Hyde House.
Be sure to tune in Saturday, December 5, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., for the Facebook LIVE Closing Celebrations for the Silent Auction and the 2 FRIENDS Exhibition featuring the exquisite oil paintings of Ina Niday and Mary Datum. You will be able to view all the art in real time, ask questions, place your winning bids and make purchases.
To see Andy’s and all paintings on display at artCentral visit Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArtcentralCarthage/photos/?ref=page_internal as well as at www.artcentralcarthage.org. For more information call: (417) 358-4404.