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The Bailey boys look for Cherry Doster’s white truck parked in front of the downtown Lancaster art gallery she owns with husband and sculptor, Bob Doster.
They live in the big blue house across the KMG America parking lot on Market Street.
If the truck’s there, the boys – Scottie, 10, and twins, Devonta and Jevonta, 11 – walk over after school for a few hours of art education.
Or chores around the studio.
Or a dinner out to Twin Dragon, one of their favorite restaurants.
The Baileys and Cherry, a Van Wyck resident, came together quite by accident, during last fall’s annual arts crawl downtown.
The boys spotted Cherry’s gaudily dressed “Trophy Wives,” sculptures Cherry fashions from discarded sports trophies, clay and plenty of shiny, sequined fabric, in the gallery window. The boys wanted to make one for their own mom.
“We saw everybody come down here,” said Devonta of the night a new bond was formed. “We saw all the colorful stuff in the window and thought maybe it was a Halloween party.”
The brothers helped the Dosters with the Business After Hours event Thursday night and will be helping tonight with the Lancaster County Council of the Arts Art Walk. The walk begins at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 9.
Since then, visits to the gallery have been almost daily. Cherry recently received grant funding through the National Endowment for the Arts, the S.C. Arts Commission and John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Communities grant that will help pay for more neighborhood outreach.
The boys have made Christmas decorations, clay projects and colored with markers. They help Cherry with another of her favorite projects – painting and decorating old shoes with sequins and other craft materials.
They’ve traveled with the Dosters to the Anne Springs Close Greenway to celebrate Earth Day, where the twins rode horses for the first time and participated in a variety of outdoor activities. They rode the Santa Express to Heath Springs with the Dosters at Christmas.
For events at the gallery, they help with chores like taking out the trash, sweeping, vacuuming and working in the gallery garden, in exchange for more art projects and trips.
They greet each task, each project, with curiosity and enthusiasm.
That’s not hard to do when Cherry’s involved, the boys say, praising their teacher and friend.
“She’s a teacher who likes to move around,” Devonta said. “She’s not stiff and boring. I like all the fun stuff we do with her. We go on walks, watch movies and roast marshmallows.”
“She takes us out to eat sometime,” Jevonta said.
But more importantly, Devonte said, “It helps me stay out of trouble. It’s good for me because when I grow up, I might become an artist.”
Cherry said the studio has always had an open-door policy, but she could have never imagined what a valuable friendship would walk through that door, a piece of Bob’s metal artwork in itself.
“They energize me,” Cherry said. “They do a lot for me in making me be down to earth.”
Cherry said the boys ask her a lot of questions, and she finds herself looking for answers and learning more herself.
In an effort to find interesting and new activities for the boys to do, she’s found herself taking advantage of area attractions that she wouldn’t have visited before, like the Earth Day event in Fort Mill a few weeks ago.
“It’s fun to see it through their eyes,” she said.
The grant, she hopes, will provide more cultural opportunities for Scottie, Devonta and Jevonta, but also for more neighborhood children, to see performances or receive coaching in drama, as examples.
The boys have recently begun taking classes from local Renee Wright, and Cherry has taken on some of Wright’s students.
The two women will combine their classes’ efforts for a student art show at Doster’s gallery in June.
The arts, Cherry said, improve children’s learning processes, and improve self discipline and self esteem.
But with the Baileys, it’s something more.
“They’re full of heart,” she said. “They have so much compassion. They’re the real givers. It’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done.”
Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at 283-1151