Deep dish art: Rowan Helping Ministries guests lend painting skills for Pass the Plate fundraiser

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 19, 2019

SALISBURY — The plates in front of Bonnie Medlin, Angela Null, Ciara White, Leigh Anne Burleyson and Terry Burleyson were blank canvases when they started.

By the time they finished, several of them were filled with inspirational messages.

Leigh Anne Burleyson chose the words “Create Your Own Sunshine.” With her hopeful message, she also painted three birds in flight above half of a sun, peaking up from the bottom of the plate.

Working beside her, husband Terry chose to include a quote from Lailah Gifty Akita on his white porcelain plate. It said, “Life is uncertain. We can never predict when hard times shall strike.”

Words like this ring true for all guests of Rowan Helping Ministries, including these “New Tomorrows” class participants.

Their assignment Monday morning was to paint plates (and one platter) that will be presented to the donors of $7,500 or more for Rowan Helping Ministries’ Pass the Plate fundraiser April 13.

In years past, guests often have painted birdhouses for the Pass the Plate auction. But for 2019, RHM decided to have their guests decorate the special dinner plates and platter for top-tier sponsors.

It’s a thematic way to offer an extra special “thank you.”

Michelle Pentoney, owner of the Hive store downtown, provided the materials, which included porcelain paint pens, paints, brushes and plates. The beauty of the supplies Pentoney brought was “if you mess it up, you can wipe it off and start over,” she said.

Hive routinely offers art workshops — and this just happened to be one Pentoney took on the road to Rowan Helping Ministries on Monday.

When the plates were finished, Pentoney planned to let them cure for a couple of days, then place them in an oven for three hours at 275 degrees to bake in the designs.

Jeanne LeMaster serves as education and transitional manager for Rowan Helping Ministries. The program has a full weekly schedule available to clients that takes in computer labs, employability labs, art classes, career planning, health and wellness strategies, adopt-a-street community cleanup activities, sessions for veterans, women’s support groups, recovery education, “De-stress Yourself” workshops, shelter orientation for new guests, “Your Future” Bible study and more.

Some 441 guests participated in New Tomorrows offerings last month, LeMaster said.

“Miss Jeanne,” guest Bonnie Medlin said Monday in front of her plate, “I’m glad you came and got me, because I’m liking this.”

Medlin proceeded to print “Jesus Loves Everyone,” with each word a different color. The message came with the three gold crosses Medlin also included.

“Have you ever heard that song by Randy Travis, ‘Three Crosses by the Highway’?” Medlin asked, describing her love for the Travis song “Three Wooden Crosses.”

Erica Taylor, community relations manager, gave the guest artists pretty much free rein on how to decorate their plates. She mentioned a spring theme might be nice, but more important, Taylor encouraged the artists to do something with personal meaning to them.

It just so happened the majority chose quotations or words that meant something to them.

Null, maybe one of the more talented guests at the shelter and whose art probably will be part of a Rowan Helping Ministries exhibit April 16, worked on the larger platter. It will be given to Food Lion, presenting sponsor for the Pass the Plate fundraiser.

Null did a freehand sketch of the Food Lion logo in black, then put the company’s name in gold letters on the rim of the platter. Null thought the dinner plate was especially appropriate because of all the people the company helps with its Food Lion Feeds program.

Terry Burleyson mulled over what he wanted to do with his plate for several minutes. “I was going to draw a baseball diamond for springtime,” he said. He eventually used his smartphone to find an inspirational quote.

Under that quote from Akita, Burleyson added his own word in gold paint — “Hope.”

That’s a very important word at Rowan Helping Ministries.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.