Celebrating Independence on Fourth of July Weekend! October 19, 2015 14:53

On this lovely independence day weekend we would like to celebrate the independence some of our artists have gained through the sale and celebration of their artwork. Not only have our artists been able to generate an income out of something they love to do, they also have been able to take control over their lives and become more independent. 

Our artist Scott Benner is a member of the ArtLifting community who has made great strides in getting back on his feet. Scott was a steel worker for many years until suddenly in 2009 his company closed as a result of the recession and Scott was out of a job. He struggled to find work, and then in 2011 was diagnosed with Horner’s syndrome— a rare condition that causes cluster headaches, confusion, and exhaustion. Because of Scott’s condition he was unable to work a regular 9-5 job, never mind operate heavy machinery, which is what he had done his whole life. Scott had no other choice but to sell his house to pay medical bills and was left on the streets with nothing but his backpack and his passion for art. 

Unable to work Scott had no way to support himself while waiting for his disability benefits to be approved. Scott took to drawing, his favorite past time, for enjoyment during his time in the shelter. Soon after becoming homeless, Scott was referred to ArtLifting by a friend. ArtLifting gave Scott hope and something to look forward to. 

Now that he has his disability benefits and his income from ArtLifting, Scott has gained housing and is living in Old Orchard Beach Maine. The transition was not an easy one, but is definitely a happy one. He says, “The first few months of being up there it was getting used being on your own again, having a place with a door, little things you don't realize till you lose them for a while.”

Scott is enjoying his independence and claims that it is very liberating, “suddenly you have more control over your life, can make choices about all sorts of things like food and going for a walk is huge. You enjoy the simple little things like a beautiful day and hearing birds singing.”  Scott now spends his days drawing. This winter he completed two large drawings that will be featured on the ArtLifting site soon and will be working on a series of smaller pieces this summer in between getting outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Written by : Justine Lynch