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Local artist helps decorate children’s library

Demopolis native Christina Lee has been very busy over the last week, designing tables and painting a giant dollhouse for the Demopolis Public Library.

Lee is a 1998 graduate of Demopolis High School and is the daughter of Tim and Michelle Lee of Demopolis. She has three sisters and a brother, all DHS graduates, and she has a 3-year-old son, Jackson.

She is studying to be an elementary education major with an art minor at the University of West Alabama, and would like to teach art in an elementary school somewhere. She is just two semesters and a student-teaching stint away from getting her degree.

“I like working with kids,” she said, “because a lot of them don’t get a lot of art. When they’re that little, you can see that a lot of young kids have talent, and they don’t pursue it because there’s nobody to push them. But, they love it, and I love working with kids.

“I’m at Livingston Elementary two days a week, and they have no art program at all. A lot of schools just don’t have the funding.”

Lee designed artwork based on local landmarks — like the statue in the fountain at the city park and the Coca-Cola sign painted on the side of a building — and painted that on the tops of five tables in the library. She also painted an alphabet table inspired by the work of children’s literature artist and author Eric Carle.

This week, Lee is working on a dollhouse for the children’s library, painting in shingles on the roof on Monday.

“I’m also going to paint the insides, put stuff on the walls, just like a real house,” she said.

“Alabama Power bought the doll house for us,” said Demopolis Public Library director Morgan Grimes. “We’re going to try to put in some little doll furniture. I think that the little girls will especially like that.”

Lee is being funded through the Black Belt Community Foundation’s art initiative grant that the library received in May to help improve its children’s library.

“This is all for a good cause, for the kids in this area,” she said.

Lee has done commission work for several other places, and has given art lessons to children. Her works have been shown in several different galleries, most recently at The Brick House restaurant on Greensboro Avenue in Tuscaloosa, where her works are presently being shown.

“When the Sandwich Shoppe became Lemon Grass, Christina had done a fountain scene on one of the tables,” said Grimes. “I got her name and number from them.

“I just liked her style. I met her in Livingston one night, and she handed me her artist’s portfolio, and I was just blown away by the talent. It’s all very colorful and youthful. So, when I saw the table at Lemon Grass, I immediately thought of the tables at the library, and I thought she did a real cool job with that.”

Lee’s work for the children is helping her pay her way through college, and once she graduates, she will continue that work in a career dedicated to art education at the elementary school level. In a way, her talent and her work will help her continue that work and encourage the love of art for many generations to come, perhaps right here in the Demopolis area.