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Denver artist gives away free art in exchange for kind acts

'Pay it Forward' display at Coffee at The Point
Pay it Forward Art Display.jpg
Posted at 3:40 PM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 19:49:02-05

DENVER — Denver artist Shaunie Berry is giving several of her paintings away for free in exchange for small acts of kindness.

Berry, who has several works of arts displayed at Coffee at The Point in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, says this is a part her "Pay it Forward" display.

“The portraits are all 4x7 canvases. So if you see one that you like, you're welcome to take it. It is completely free, I just ask that you take one piece,” she said. “There's an energetic exchange that I want you to participate in in order to take my art for free. So there's just like a lot of different acts of kindness and just good deeds on each card.”

The acts of kindness cards are displayed underneath each canvas.

“For example, there's one that says, 'Call up a grandparent or an elder and tell them how much you appreciate them. Buy a coffee or some food for some someone on the street and just give it to them. Buy flowers, hand them out in public.' Just things that make people feel good and happy,” Berry said.

Each work of art features vibrant portraits of people of color.

“I grew up surrounded by a lot of Black art in my home and my family's home," Berry said. "I feel like that's something that's just stayed with me throughout my life."

The artist says she’s excited to share her work with the community.

College student Kevin Pashayan grabbed one of Berry’s portraits and plans to complete the act of kindness.

“It says, 'Choose a friend and celebrate them for the whole day, kind of like a birthday,'” Pashayan said. “I’m excited to do it. I think that it can be really easy for people to take their friends for granted. You never know what can be taken from you. So just being able to show them that you appreciate them I think can really make their day.”

Pashayan and fellow college student Jana Elsobky say part of the reason they study at Coffee at The Point is because of artists like Berry.

“She is a local artist. That must be hard, like with revenue and stuff. The fact that she put that aside and was like, 'This is about the art and the appreciation of the culture and being kind and loving to one another,' that's really needed in the world,” Elsobky said.

Berry says she hopes her display creates an energetic exchange where one small, positive act is enough to help someone forget about the negativity that surrounds them, even if just for a moment.