Local artist’s work chosen to hang in the U.S. embassy in Cameroon
In an Oak Park home, there are two art studios. One belongs to Justin Bean, an abstract painter, and the other belongs to his wife, Emily Bean, a fabric sculptor. While his day job is with a nonprofit and hers is in advertising, their after-dinner activities take them into separate studios to work on current projects.
To his surprise, Justin recently was contacted by the Art in Embassies program, established by the U.S. Department of State in 1963. He was asked to show one of his works in the U.S. embassy in Cameroon, and it already has been placed there.
The piece, titled Cosmic Shield, has bright acrylic colors and was completed on canvas.
“The request to show this painting was really unexpected,” Justin Bean said. “I got an email very much out of the blue from a woman who works for the Arts in Embassies program. She asked if I was interested in participating and, at first, I was a little skeptical because there’s so much spam email out there.
“Then I noticed she had a government address, and I had heard about the program. I said I’d certainly be interested, so we set up a phone call and I got to speak with her.”
Apparently, the woman had been looking online to gather resources, and she came across Bean’s website and reached out.