BERLIN — A month-long art feature by local artist Bill Thomas begins this Friday at The Globe in Berlin, and the 10-year Army veteran has pledged to donate all of the proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The idea for the showing came through coincidence. Thomas’ day job often takes him to The Globe for deliveries. That meant that he went through the restaurant’s upstairs art gallery on a regular basis.
“He would come through all of the time and would have to come upstairs to drop off my invoices,” said The Globe owner Jennifer Dawicki.
One day Thomas approached Dawicki with the idea of doing a show where all of the proceeds would go to Wounded Warriors and the collaboration took off from there.
“I think when I mentioned that I wanted 100 percent of the proceeds to go to Wounded Warrior she kind of perked up then,” said Thomas.
This is not Thomas’ first experience with the national charity, which supports armed service veterans who return from duty with either physical or mental scars. Serving in the Army from 1986 until 1996, Thomas said that the project holds a special meaning for him and that he has a lot of respect for all members of the armed service, such as those that are overseas today.
“Those are the guys that are going to put their lives on the line for us,” he said.
In 2008, Thomas donated a Harley motorcycle with the proceeds to go toward Wounded Warrior. He sees this summer’s art show as a continuation of that effort and one he hopes will be successful.
“If I sell everything in here, it’s going to be close to $10,500. So hopefully I can sell everything in here,” said Thomas.
All of the art pieces are done in the famous Bob Ross Happy Paintings method. Thomas is a certified instructor in Bob Ross landscapes and is currently only one class from being certified in Bob Ross floral painting as well. The name of the show at The Globe will be, “Happy Paintings for the Warriors.”
Back in his Army days, Thomas used to watch Ross’ show “The Joy of Painting” with his fellow soldiers at their barracks in the evenings. Though he never had an artistic edge growing up, the show made an impression and after more than a decade out of the Army, one day Thomas decided to start painting.
“I’ve been painting two and a half years. I never did any art work before that in my life,” he said.
But it took hold and now Thomas hopes to use that passion to do something good for a worthy cause. The Globe is glad to help with that goal, said Dawicki, who noted that the combination of art show and charity effort aligned perfectly with what the restaurant wants to do in the community.
“There’s a lot of work out there. It continues to be the perfect combination of local people connecting for the greater good,” she said.
And Thomas certainly has put in the work, added Dawicki. Besides painting all 60 some pieces, Thomas built every frame by hand with the assistance of his employer Sean Burke, owner of Crack of Dawn Bakery.
Opening night for the show will be Friday, June 28 from 6-8 p.m. at the Globe. The paintings will remain in the upstairs dining area from then until early-August or until they are purchased. Cash or checks will be accepted for the sales and at the end of the month-long event all proceeds will be transferred to Wounded Warrior.
Besides the charitable aspect, Thomas would be glad to see his work inspire others to try out the Bob Ross method. He was adamant that with practice and the right attitude anyone can produce art and that the only risk is finding the time to try.