Street artist shares journey from craps table to witness
By BRAD HARPER
Jul. 14, 2018
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A tourist approaches the artist beside the fountain with a camera and a curious expression. Bob Adams sticks to his work, but he peers over his glasses with smiling eyes. He's ready. Ready to talk about what he's doing, why he's doing it, even why he left his job at the craps table in Reno, Nevada, if she wants to go that far.
Adams has been sculpting and painting in the Montgomery area for nearly 30 years, a lot of that along Dexter Avenue. He's done paintings of local business owners and milestone events. He covered the empty buildings along the street with murals years ago, before a recent wave of construction. "For 15 or 20 years, I had lower Dexter Avenue as my private gallery," Adams said.
Today he's working at Court Square, building a paper mache replica of a scene from the Bible. Like a lot of his work, it draws attention.
"I discovered that nobody comes and sees you when you paint in your studio, so I might as well just go out on the street and paint," Adams said. "Somebody will come up and talk to me every day. It doesn't matter what you paint. So I figured I might as well do Bible stories."
He adds some detail to the face of a figurine, one of the sculptures that will strain to lower the apostle Paul over the wall of Damascus in the scene he's creating. And he talks about the casino. Adams was a craps dealer at Harrah's in Reno when he was dealt a message from above.
"The Lord convicted me that I was a sinner and I was going to hell, and I better accept Jesus as my savior. I did," Adams said. He moved here not long after that to take care of his parents, Michigan natives who had relocated to escape the cold. His mother lived to 100 with her son nearby.
Trucks rumble past the fountain and toward the state Capitol building as he tells the story.
He's been seeing more people on the street here lately, and a lot of them walk up to talk to him. They all encourage him, he said, whether they're a believer in Christ or not. "Our job is to cast out the word. The Lord will use it in whatever way He wants."
He wishes the wall of Damascus was higher. The stand-in today is a waist-high barrier in front of some office buildings, low enough that Paul's basket sits on the ground instead of hovering in the air. He'll have to make some adjustments.
Other than that, Adams doesn't have many complaints.
"I just love downtown Montgomery," he said. "Tourists come by, and people come out for lunch and stuff. It's fun to come out and work, and it's a little way to witness."
Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com