Monica Mason: Painting the fire inside…

A little over two months ago, I interviewed a former university professor, philanthropist, and working artist about her ongoing work, “The Community Portrait Project.” The full day of exchange and comradery that resulted between Monica Mason and me led to the writing and publishing of my favorite story, to date, on a local artist.

After being captivated by Mason’s thoughtfulness and the intimacy of her work as we exchanged hours of dialogue on the various relationships existing between artist, audience, subject, and art, I realized just how important it is to take the time to really see, listen, absorb, and understand…..not only in our appreciation of creative works, but in our appreciation of each other.

Published in The Telegraph newspaper in late December, the resulting article gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at Mason’s ongoing project to paint the faces of her community and bring people closer together. Click here to view the full story and check back regularly for details about Mason’s next show and debut of her second group of portraits, when they become available.

(Author’s note: this article won Jeanie Stephens fourth place in “Feature Writing” in 2019, presented by the Illinois Publisher’s Association)

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