Rebecca Davies was a waitress, ad agency employee and bank teller. For the past 17 years, she has been the Batesville Intermediate School art teacher, currently teaching three and a half days a week until her June retirement.
Throughout it all, art has been a constant.
Almost 30 years ago, after five years of teaching art at East Central High School and losing that job due to a reduction in force, she started painting seriously. “Almost everything was an interesting subject at that time.”
Since then, the Dillsboro resident has produced “hundreds” of acrylic paintings, too many to count.
About 23 works created within the last four years will be on display at the Batesville Memorial Public Library from March 1-31. Area residents may chat with Davies during an artist’s reception Saturday, March 8, from 1-5 p.m.
“I refer to this as my Good-Bye and Thank-You, Batesville, Show. I appreciate having a space to show this work and let my ‘kids’ see the painter side of me.” The paintings will be grouped into several themes – inner landscape, family portraits, environmental commentary and three pieces she calls her Midwest fig leaf paintings.
The painter is particularly proud of the inner landscape series. “I have five in the show and another on the easel. This started as a commission from a woman who wanted a portrait without using her physical image. What happened through the process of working with her personal symbols resulted in an idea that is still growing.”
Davies will leave a lasting mark here. Over two decades she and students have created at least nine murals, including two in public areas, funded by the Arts in Education Program of Rural Alliance for the Arts or John W. Hillenbrand Vision Fund for Quality Education. In 1992, the artist and former Batesville High School teacher Charm Seright oversaw students design a Batesville history mural that hung for years at the corner of Walnut and George streets. Some remaining panels are on display at the Big Four Cafe. On the side of the Batesville Area Historical Society Museum is a more recent history piece also created by BHS artists.