Painter extraordinaire, landscape planner, building designer, graphic artist: one of the greatest resources on the Perry Wellness Center campus is Jeff Williams, a nationally renowned fine artist. Since returning to his hometown, Jeff has shared his talents with our peers and left his creative mark on the entire campus.
When you spot a brightly colored fountain, the design work on our newest greenhouse, or the attractive and whimsical signage at the market, you can bet that Jeff has been the creative force behind the work.
But one of the most valuable avenues for his creative expression has been in Jeff’s mentoring of talented peers. We’ve told you before the story of how Jeff designed and built a tabletop loom from scratch to promote the weaving efforts of Laurie Hildreth. We also shared the account of how Javin Baker turned to Jeff for assistance in producing his unique book, which includes his own graphic illustrations as well as his personal story.
Being a mentor has proved to be gratifying to Jeff to an even greater extent than he had imagined. Now he is hoping to spread the word about the value of mentoring and is reaching out to the local community.
“I would like to invite other citizens of Americus and Sumter County to contact Mulkey McMichael at (229) 649-4714 about joining our Mentor Program,” Jeff says with enthusiasm. “You will find excitement and fun with peers at Perry Wellness Center.”
FOOTNOTE: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY
Since his first days at Perry Wellness Center, Javin Baker has displayed his graphic talents in a series of drawings and cartoon panels that are the foundation of a planned book. The drawings and accompanying text tell the story of Chris, a character Javin created. In a way, Chris represents the better side of Javin, as he makes positive life choices and demonstrates more productive ways to cope with stress and mental illness.
The creative process has been transformative for the young author, as he explains: “I can sketch Chris and feel that I have shown the events of my day and the stress that I may have endured. When I think about Chris and draw him, I think about solutions for my problems.”
Early in the process of developing his book, Javin began to talk with Jeff Williams about his plans, and the two brainstormed frequently. Over the ensuing months, Javin and Jeff have gained mutual respect and friendship. One of Jeff’s own recent creations was a tribute to this friendship: a screen-printed tee shirt that depicts one of Javin’s own drawings. The gift not only made the young peer’s day; it piqued the interest of other peers who have approached Jeff about joining in on the creative efforts on campus.
In the above photo, Javin Baker expresses his appreciation for his new tee shirt, while Jeff Williams works on a colorful stained glass creation for the center’s new greenhouse.