Open Door Art Studio artist Wallace Peck is in the spotlight as the inaugural artist in a program launched by Ohio first lady Karen Kasich.
Three of Peck's paintings will be on display through the end of the year at the Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden in Bexley as part of "Spotlight: Featured Artists at the Ohio Governor's Residence."
Peck has been a participant for several years at Open Door, a creative space and gallery on Goodale Boulevard that provides art education and art services to individuals with physical and developmental disabilities.
Peck, a resident of Columbus' East Side, said he was surprised when he found out he was selected for the program.
"I was just shocked," he said. "I had no idea."
It's been a big year for Peck, whose work was featured over the summer in an exhibit at the Lindsay Gallery in the Short North.
"The first lady is a friend of Duff Lindsay (the gallery's owner) and she was visiting the gallery and was impressed with Wallace's paintings," said Sharon Dorsey, Open Door's volunteer coordinator and art facilitator.
Kasich was so impressed that she chose Peck's work to kick off the new Spotlight program, a partnership with the Ohio Arts Council. A different artist will be highlighted each quarter.
Most of Peck's paintings depict faces, often of people he knows.
"I want people to be happy when they look at my paintings," he said. "If they're happy, that makes me feel good."
"Whenever we have a new staff person joining us at Open Door, Wallace loves to paint their portrait and give it to them as a gift," Dorsey said.
Peck was a featured artist at the 2012 Greater Columbus Arts Festival and sells many of his paintings, she said.
"People really respond to his work," Dorsey said.
"If people want to come in and look at my paintings, I'm glad," Peck said. "I want them to be proud of them."
And if they want to purchase a painting?
"That's fine with me," he said, with a big grin.
Peck said he always has been interested in art, often doodling drawings as a child.
"Painting just relaxes me," he said. "It takes me away from the stress of life."
"Wallace has been drawing his whole life, but before he came to Open Door, his access to paint was limited," Dorsey said. "Here, he's been able to let his talent flourish."