The Independent Living Resource Center has spent 30 years helping disabled people get along a little better, at no charge.
For eight years, artist Hugh Greer has tried to help them help people.
Greer is an acclaimed artist with books of his works and with galleries selling his richly colored acrylic landscapes in Santa Fe, Lindsborg and Kansas City. But for eight years, he’s painted a historic, well-known scene from Wichita to be sold as Christmas cards, note cards and lithographs to benefit the center.
This year’s Christmas card features the historic Sedgwick County Courthouse, built in 1888 at 525 N. Main. It is painted with snow on the ground and no people around – as though everyone is home at holiday time.
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Greer, 72, a Wichitan, likes doing this work every year, giving back to a community he’s fond of. He has painted so many of these local, well-known historic scenes, first for the Heart Association and then for the center, “that we’re starting to run out of places to paint.”
Most of the motivation for offering the annual picture is not so much to raise money but to get the center’s name out as a reminder of what it does, said Cindi Unruh, the Independent Living Resource Center’s executive director.
“Hugh has a great following; a lot of people like to have those cards,” Unruh said. “And we like to do something with him that is obviously from here, in Wichita.”
Past sites Greer has painted include the Keeper of the Plains statue, Union Station and Old Town.
The center, which is state-funded, performs free services for about 2,000 disabled people of all ages. Though it sometimes works with the United Way, it is not a United Way-funded agency, Unruh said.
“We try to help them stay in their homes as long as they can, offering programs and resources. We work with children or adults, with developmentally disabled people, with people recovering from accidents,” she said.
The Christmas cards, note cards and lithographs can be purchased through the organization’s website, www.ilrcks.org, or at its office, 3033 W. Second St. Packets of 22 Christmas cards are $25, packets of 10 note cards are $15, and the single lithographs (20 by 16 inches) are $25. The cards also are available at Johnson’s Garden Centers, Bungalow 26, City Blue Print and Watermark Books and Cafe.
“I try to do something every year that people around here will immediately recognize,” Greer said.
As for running out of sites to paint after all these years, he said it’s up to him to deal with that.
“A good artist is never supposed to run out of ideas.”