being interviewed by Laura Hollingsworth
during the Minden auction
Written by Bonnie Culverhouse of Minden Press Herald
Wednesday, 03 February 2010
Painting sure to be popular item at the annual St. Jude Auction
Cora Lou Robinson’s paintings always tell a story.
Eighteen years ago, she painted the story of the life of Denise Whaley, a young lady who died from Leukemia. It included her twin sister, Lori, and many of their friends. That painting brought in almost $5,000 for the children of St. Jude.
“It was so popular, prints were given to everyone who purchased a raffle ticket,” said St. Jude Auction Co-Chairperson Melissa Brown.
The winner, Jessica Beech, presented the original painting to Denise Whaley’s parents, Toby and Susan.
It’s taken Brown quite a while to convince Robinson that it was time for a new work of art to be raffled off at the auction. “I’ve begged her for 18 years,” Brown said. Now that she’s retired, Robinson said she has “a little” more time. “I just decided this year, I would do it,” she said.
Robinson has worked non-stop since Christmas on the folk-art-style painting, putting in between 300 and 400 hours on it. “There are so many stories connected with St. Jude and this painting,” Robinson said of the new work. “I’ve tried to incorporate people and stories from 1976, when the auction first started to today.” She even has a scene of Beech presenting the first painting to Susan Whaley. Robinson said she became passionate about St. Jude after Denise Whaley died. “She was one of my students in kindergarten and first grade,” Robinson said. “I did that painting and from then on I have worked at St. Jude every year.”
The auction stage is the center of Robinson’s painting with blocks of different sponsors surrounding it. A group of children represents students from E.S. Richardson School where Robinson taught and has helped with fund-raisers over the years. Another group represents the students from Bossier Parish Communitiy College who give of their time to help the auction stay on the air.
Robinson has also chosen quite a few individuals to spotlight, including Pete Treat, who first started the auction in 1976.
There is a group of children honoring those who are success stories and those who deserve to have their memories honored.
Robinson enjoys folk art because, as she said, “It doesn’t have to be perfect.” But it always tells a story. “It (the painting) tells a wonderful story,” she said. “From the beginning of St. Jude until today. It’s all about what the auction does for children, and that’s why I put a lot of children in the painting. They grow up and become the grown-ups who are in this painting.”
“Nobody can understand how hard these people work,” she continued. “I’m doing this painting in honor of these workers.”
This year’s Minden St. Jude Auction and all of those that came before it were commemorated by Cora Lou Robinson in a painting called “Minden St. Jude Auction,” which was raffled off to raise funds during the auction.
Minden St. Jude Auction Co-chairman Melissa Brown said prints of Robinson’s painting are now available at Easley’s Fine Art on Main Street and giclees` may be ordered.
Prints are being sold for $20, while the computer reproduced giclees` sell for $250.
“All proceeds still go to St. Jude, so they are tax deductible,” Brown said.*
*To date over $10,000 has been raised.