‘A generous spirit’: Wichita artist, 87, selling works to benefit Ukraine

Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle
·2 min read

Mary Erickson and her three sisters used to crowd around their mother and paint.

“We all sat around and just when she did her artwork, we just kind of did one too,” Erickson said.

Now 87, Erickson has had to cut back on art because of health reasons. And she has a house filled with hundreds of art pieces that she wants to share with the community. She’s doing just that on Saturday, Aug. 13 with an art show where she will sell her pieces — and some of her sister’s — at a discounted price.

“I’m going to sell them at bargain prices so that other people who might not be able to afford art, especially now, can also, you know, get some artwork if they like my work,” Erickson said.

While Erickson said she likes all kinds of art, one of her favorite is painting with pastels. She also likes oil paints. Erickson said she’s selling all kinds of paintings.

The show will be held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Wichita, 7202 E. 21st St., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show will sell both art and art equipment and supplies. All proceeds will be donated to Ukrainians in need.

“I guess anybody could say ‘I need more money,’ but I don’t really. I’d rather help other people,” Erickson said.

Marcia Ellsworth, who is helping Erickson with the art show, says donating all proceeds is in Erickson’s nature.

“[She has] a generous spirit. Mary’s just all about wanting to help other people or to share what she has,” Ellsworth said.

“This way she can sell her paintings and also benefit others.”

Ellsworth has four of Erickson’s paintings. One is of Ellsworth’s English shepherd, Clover.

“It’s so soft, her colors are so rich, her interpretation is really beautiful,” Ellsworth said.

Erickson previously lived in Lindsborg. She also lived in Colorado at one point, where she won over 50 awards for her art — including two “best of shows” and some assorted first and second place awards. Erickson said that although it’s nice to receive an award, she did art for herself, not the recognition.

Erickson’s house is full of her artwork. In her living room, multiple art pieces line the walls and hallways. In her basement is her studio, where you can find dozens of framed and unframed art pieces and art supplies.

“I have a lot of framed art, probably over 100,” Erickson said. “People might say, ‘Well, didn’t she sell any?’ Well yes, I did.”

Erickson has been a part of multiple art shows. During COVID, she was able to enter art shows more easily. She didn’t have to frame the art because it was all online.

To find more information on Erickson’s art show, go to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Wichita’s website.