I have had a crazy notion haunting my thoughts for a while now. This past August, I gauged my husband’s reaction to it. He was wary at best, most seriously hesitant and frightened, but cautiously fascinated by the thought of my idea. You see it involved him baring his soul publicly; allowing the world to effectively judge him in a most personal, transparent way. I wanted to do an art show masked as a fundraiser, using his original oil paintings,  for the very illness that is robbing his life day in and day out: Lewy Body Dementia.

My husband is most aptly named: Art. He has a website called, originally enough, http://artleeart.com/ . Our family believes in his creativity and talent. His life has become a quiet, ongoing obsessive  mission: to create original oil paintings, from the recesses of his  ever changing, complex mind, from sun-up to sun-down, each and every day he is on God’s green earth. He creates unimaginably impressive images, in spite of his declining mental and physical acuities, often using the most brilliant, brightest of colors; a stark contrast to the darkness of the Lewy Body Dementia that is openly destroying the person that he once was.

The scene was set: The entire weekend of October 27th-29th would be the LBD art show and LBD fundraiser, displaying and selling his most creative and inspiring pieces, which had been made into cards and prints, as well. The venue was perfect-the Artist’s Studio and Gallery at Patriot Place, in nearby Foxboro, Massachusetts, a popular shopping/sporting destination for locals and tourists alike. Now all we needed was folks to come by and support our mission. We were about to be wowed by the masses!

To say that we were humbled would be an understatement. While I had done my fair share of legwork regarding the publicity of our event, we were  not prepared for the unbelievable influx of people that appeared at the show to support Art and our cause. The doors had actually opened an hour earlier than planned on Friday afternoon to accommodate the growing number of patrons wanting to come in and see his artwork. We made our first sale before it was technically slated to start! That was only the beginning…

Over the next couple of days we were  enthusiastically greeted by friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers alike, who had all either heard of the show or simply stumbled upon it by chance. We even had a dear friend make it up from Florida just for the show!  The outpouring of love for Art and our family was phenomenal! The sales line was often long and winding, but people were patient and eager to purchase an Art Lee original! We were truly blessed by all who took the time out of their busy lives to come down and see the show. The show/fundraiser wildly exceeded our expectations, garnering just shy of $7,000!!! Needless to say, we are already booked in for next year at the gallery….so save the date, the last weekend in October!

A final thought: Art was incredibly nervous and unconvinced that he could present his paintings publicly like this. He was sure he would hear negative comments, which would crush his spirits. Instead, what he received was all positive, and dramatically encouraging to  him. To those who came: Thank you! You made this vulnerable, gentle man who suffers daily with the effects of LBD feel like a celebrity! We all felt the love. May you be blessed by knowing you helped lift his spirits for days to come…

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