Kennedy Center artist brightens Bridgeport’s Homes for the Brave

Photo of Amanda Cuda

TRUMBULL — For being an amateur painter, Christina Bevans may have a future in commissioned works.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim was one of several local officials who came to the Kennedy Center’s Maggie Daly Arts Cooperative on Broad Street Tuesday afternoon to celebrate a painting by Bevans, 42, of Stratford. Bevans is a client at the Kennedy Center, a Trumbull-based agency that provides comprehensive service and programs to clients with special needs and disabilities.

Bevans donated her piece “Sunrise on Pearl Harbor Street” to Homes for the Brave, a Bridgeport-based nonprofit that provides housing and services to individuals experiencing homelessness, especially veterans. The painting, Bevans said, was her attempt to honor those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

“I wanted to paint this painting in remembrance of people who were killed,” she said. “And I wanted to give it to veterans.”

During Tuesday’s event, Ganim praised Bevans, as well as the Kennedy Center and Homes for the Brave. But he had one question for Bevans.

“Do you think you could do a painting like that for the mayor’s office?” Ganim recalled asking Bevans shortly before the painting’s presentation. The two later agreed that Bevans would paint the Bridgeport waterfront for him.

Ganim and others said Bevans’s donation of the painting is a great thing for Homes for the Brave, and the Kennedy Center. For 71 years, the Kennedy Center has been serving and creating opportunity for people with disabilities through its various programs, including its art therapy programs.

The Maggie Daly Arts Cooperative is a place where Kennedy Center clients can create and display their art. The co-op opened in May 2014 and was named in honor of the late Maggie Daly, a longtime supporter of The Kennedy Center and its art programs.

Kennedy Center President and CEO Rick Sebastian said the co-op allows Kennedy Center clients to express themselves.

“Our artists have a voice through their artwork that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” he said.

In presenting the painting to Homes for the Brave, he recalled speaking to Bevans as she was creating it late last year.

“She wanted to know if I knew of any veterans she could donate the painting to,” Sebastian said.

Immediately Homes for the Brave came to mind, he said. While accepting the painting, Homes for the Brave CEO and Executive Director Vincent Santilli said the art would go in the organization’s new annex, which opened June 22 in downtown Bridgeport.

“We’re delighted and so touched that Christina thought of us,” Santilli said.

Bevans said she was happy to create something for the veterans.

“I hope they enjoy it also,” she said.