BEDS volunteer Rebecca Russow knew she wanted to help BEDS when the COVID-19 pandemic hit but helping at shelter was simply no longer an option. So Rebecca decided to get creative and turned to her artwork as a way to help BEDS instead.
Rebecca said she has missed seeing her fellow volunteers and getting the chance to interact with BEDS clients. While sheltering in place, Rebecca has been able to focus more on her art and contribute to BEDS even if she could no longer volunteer in person. She is donating money from sales of her art through Redbubble. Her art also is on display and for sale at Munch in Oak Park.
"I was always having something to do (before the pandemic) so I just started holing up in my studio," she said.
Rebecca started volunteering with BEDS a few years ago after learning about the opportunity through a local community group. She helped with a shelter donation collection and met with a BEDS staff member, who told her about BEDS and its mission.
"The more I learned, the more I thought it sounded like something I would like to do," she said.
She started by helping with a women's shelter and then helped with overnight shelter shifts twice per month. While Rebecca liked working with the other volunteers, she said she really enjoyed getting to know the BEDS clients at shelter.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and volunteer opportunities were curtailed. Rebecca, who is 71, thought about helping make meals but wanted to do something more for BEDS. That is when she got the idea to offer her art for sale and donate the proceeds to BEDS. She emailed friends and family about her fundraiser and has raised about $250 so far.
"I do miss seeing some of the clients. I wonder how they are doing," she said.
Rebecca, who taught art at Ogden School and later served as principal at Forest Road School, describes her art as collage work and straw marquetry. She said the pieces she has created during the pandemic are "a bit of a protest about what is going on." Her work is on display with local community art leagues including the La Grange Art League.
"I find (creating art is) a way of meditation," she said. "I don't necessarily have a finished idea or title in mind until I'm done."
Rebecca plans to continue the fundraiser through Jan. 31, 2021. She is participating in Artists Sunday, which encourages people to support local artists on Nov. 29 and give unique, original items as gifts for the holiday season.