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Reception held for ‘Spiritual Group of Five’

  • Artist Renee Watkins points out some of her artwork to her daughter during a reception at the CCAC on Friday. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • People check out the latest display, entitled “A Spiritual Group of Five,” during a reception at the CCAC on Friday. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Artist Renee Watkins and her daughters Cosette and Nicolette, along with artists Carolyn Larson, Judy Sebern Beachy and Beth Hirst during a reception at the CCAC on Friday. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Artist Judy Sebern Beachy chats with art patrons during a reception at the CCAC on Friday. (Press photo James Grob.)

By James Grob,

Charles City art patrons can drop by the Charles City Arts Center this month and take a look at the work of five different artists.

“These ladies are very inspiring to me,” said artist Judy Sebern Beachy. “We do art together through our church, we do neighborhood art together, so we have a lot of creativity together.”

The September display at the CCAC, entitled “A Spiritual Group of Five,” includes the work of Beachy, as well as Des Moines area artists Jan Davison, Renee Watkins, Carolyn Larson and Beth Hirst.

The CCAC held a reception for the five on Friday, although Davison, who had a show at the CCAC a year ago, was unable to attend. Some of her artwork is on display as part of the collaboration.

“I was lucky enough to have a show here three years ago, but I don’t have enough new stuff to have a solo show, so I got these great art friends in Des Moines to agree to do a show together,” said Beachy, who grew up in Charles City, the daughter of John and Jean Sebern. Beachy is a member of the CCHS Class of 1974

The artists all know each other and work together through Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines.

Beachy loved art as a child, but didn’t get serious until she took a watercolor class when she was in her 40s. This led to a journey of exploration into drawing, charcoal, pastels, acrylics.

Davison is a lifelong artist who holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Drake University. Most of her working career was spent as a freelance graphic designer, but she also served as director of communications at Westminster church ibefore retiring in 2014.

Hirst also has a Charles City connection, as her daughter and son-in-law, Hayley and Wesley Mueller, are former residents. She began painting with acrylics five years ago. A graduate in theater arts from Drake University, she has acted on numerous Des Moines stages.

Larson’s “specialty of the moment” is china painting. She graduated from the University of Colorado in 1973 with a degree in anthropology/archeology.

Watkins is a Los Angeles native. She has been drawing, painting, sculpting and just about every other type of crafting her entire life. She does commissions, has taught private and group lessons and occasionally teaches classes to individuals participating in Family Promise of Greater Des Moines, which is housed at Westminster church.

“It’s so wonderful to have friends like this,” Beachy said. “Everything we do is better when we do it together.”

“A Spiritual Group of Five” will be on display at the CCAC through the end of this month.