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Arkansas artists collaborate on Cutwell 4 Kids coloring book

June 29, 2019

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Two local artists have collaborated on a coloring book that is meant to inspire children to find their way with art.

Cutwell 4 Kids will release the coloring book next month, and copies will also be donated to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

The book, which tells the story of C4K founder Anthony Tidwell through both text and pictures, was the suggestion of 501 Prime owner Matt Fuller. Tidwell said Fuller’s suggestion triggered the memory of a coloring book he saw years ago at Levi Hospital that was created by another local artist, Gary Simmons.

Tidwell and Simmons have been friends for around eight years, so he called Simmons to tell him about the idea.

“He was thrilled about it. He said he would do it,” Tidwell told The Sentinel-Record.

Tidwell told Simmons the story of how he came to create C4K. Simmons then both wrote Tidwell’s story and created nine images for the book -- a cover and eight pictures to be colored.

Both Tidwell and Simmons said they are happy with the final product. The book — titled “Cutwell 4 Kids Finding Your Way With Art” — was printed by Quick Print.

C4K is an art program created and run by Tidwell to share his knowledge and skills with youngsters.

“It’s always fun working with Anthony,” Simmons said, adding that the project was also an important one for him. Simmons said he believes in what Tidwell is doing with the C4K children, and that he could tell how meaningful the project was for Tidwell.

The collaboration between the two artists is meaningful for Tidwell for a different reason. Tidwell said the two met when they were both invited to have coffee with Ann Caruso, who told the two that they needed to do something together.

“Years ago she told us to collaborate together. She knew it would bridge two worlds together,” Tidwell said.

The project also received some input about the structure of the book from Pepe Gaka, the artist who recently worked with Tidwell to create two new murals on Malvern Avenue. Originally, Tidwell’s story was going to be written underneath the images, but Gaka suggested separating the story and the images, putting the text on one page and the image on the next.

Tidwell said that seeing the printed copies of the book gave him goose bumps.

“Oh man, I’m not used to success,” Tidwell said. Other successes he has experienced in the last year include receiving a Judges Recognition Award at the 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards and getting to work with Gaka on the two murals.

Two hundred copies of the book were made for the first printing. The book will be on sale at the C4K Studio July 5.

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Information from: The Sentinel-Record, http://www.hotsr.com

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