Some Girls and a Mural discuss the joy factor
By Gayle Gresham
Enthusiasm radiates from Audrey Sayles and Staci Ravenkamp Beauford when talking about their artwork and their advocacy for agriculture and rural art. But their greatest joy — aside from living “the best life” — comes from the response of the people in the rural communities where they are painting murals and signs.
“Every community is so welcoming, it is amazing!” Audrey says. “In Yuma, people brought us water, slushies, and all sorts of treats. They are so wonderful and so happy for the mural to be there.
“When we did the Kit Carson County Fairgrounds,” she continues, “we were seriously like a tourist attraction for the local people. That was in the heart of COVID-19 in June of 2020. We were averaging about 30 cars an hour of people just driving through wanting to see the progress.”
Audrey and Staci believe that when art is experienced, it becomes a connection and a shared story. Audrey calls it “the joy factor.” She says, “People want the joy factor. They get the same joy out of looking at art as they do producing art.”
Even simple artwork can bring connection and joy to people. Staci tells of a day when her husband helped her with some scaffolding when she painted a sign for a church in Arkansas. “It was just a black and white sign and the pastor’s wife was almost in tears (of joy). My husband said to me, ‘Holy smokes, people don’t react to my work that way!’”
“It’s why I keep doing it.” Staci says with a smile. “I can’t stop because of the joy it really does bring to people.”
“And it’s fun!” Audrey adds. “Staci and I have the music on, we have the best life. We get to meet amazing people! Seriously, we have the best life.”