Why do I create my artwork? Because I have to.

grant penny
– by Grant Penny

I suspect many, if not most, artists would agree. There is an inner necessity to produce work. If I were to deny my drive to create I would be denying myself. I enjoy the process of taking a thought/an idea, mulling it over, nudging it, tweaking it, committing to it. Paper and glue are unforgiving. If I’m not happy with the end result or if I make a mistake along the way, I can’t paint over it. With each piece there is a feeling of satisfaction. It’s exciting and rewarding to see, hold, touch something that was merely an idea a short time ago. When others enjoy my work that’s the ‘cherry on top’.

I choose to donate my work to OpenDoors because I believe in what they do. Societal problems and community issues can easily become overwhelming to address, made even more difficult when mixed with politics, government budgets, and sprinkled with bureaucracy.

I have a favorite saying, “When you don’t know what to do, do the thing in front of you.” I feel like that approach plays into the OpenDoors philosophy. They saw a need, and rather than being overwhelmed at the complexity of it all, they set out to simply fulfill that need. “Doing the thing that’s in front of you” –  at the individual level, child by child, story by story. A piece-by-piece approach that adds up to a healthier community, as a whole. I very much admire the work of OpenDoors.

To be able to sell things that I make and have someone want to buy them and hang them on their wall is really cool. But to have a piece of artwork help a child through an organization such as OpenDoors, that’s truly great! To think that cutting little pieces of paper in my little studio one night will go on to help a child reach their potential is amazing and almost hard to get my head around.

My studio is in my home, therefore my path doesn’t often cross with other local artists’ paths. That’s another perk from donating to OpenDoors, it’s given me a chance to meet and make friends with a lot of fellow artists. Last year, at the Art Affair, Nancy Hilliard Joyce and I came up with an idea for a two person show. This past October we held that show in downtown Greenville, SC. It was a wonderful experience and had it not been for the OpenDoor’s Art Affair, that conversation may never have happened.

I’ve donated work to OpenDoors for the last six years because I wholeheartedly believe in their mission and goals. Any money gained through my donation helps deserving people here in my community – and that just feels right.

Grant Penny’s work can be found in downtown Asheville at ArtEtude Gallery.