Knoxville YMCA director benefits charities with 3D paintings

Knoxville YMCA director benefits charities with 3D paintings

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For several hours each weekend, YMCA Director Jim Dickson puts away the tie and word processor and turns to the world of artistic expression. For several hours each weekend, YMCA Director Jim Dickson puts away the tie and word processor and turns to the world of artistic expression.
Using acrylics, Jim Dickson takes the technique known as "raised paint" to another level. Using acrylics, Jim Dickson takes the technique known as "raised paint" to another level.
Jim Dickson's works not only adorn his home, but also the homes of some of Knoxville's most prominent people. Jim Dickson's works not only adorn his home, but also the homes of some of Knoxville's most prominent people.
Along the way, he has helped raise thousands of dollars for charity. Along the way, he has helped raise thousands of dollars for charity.

By GENE PATTERSON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Jim Dickson, the executive director of Knoxville's YMCA, is known as an organized, within-the-box kind of guy.

Dickson, however, is leading a secret life, and the "other" Jim Dickson is benefiting charities all over the country.

"Actually, most people are surprised when they find out I do this," said Dickson.

For several hours each weekend, Dickson puts away the tie and word processor and turns to the world of artistic expression.

Using acrylics, Dickson takes the technique known as "raised paint" to another level.  Think of it as acrylics on steroids.  Dickson's works literally jump from the canvas.

"About four years ago, my wife and I were on vacation and we bought a painting and the painter showed me how he did it. I said I can do that.  So, I came home and started painting," he said.

He has been painting non-stop ever since, but he says it took a lot of trial and error to achieve his current expertise.

"Lots of error," Dickson admitted. "And lots of scraping off a lot of paint and trying to start over."

Despite the miscues, Dickson persisted and today his works not only adorn his home, but also the homes of some of Knoxville's most prominent people. Along the way, he has helped raise thousands of dollars for charity.

"I was actually glad that anyone would take it for free when I first started. That was very complimentary to me. But then, I started giving them to charity auctions and so far the most I've gotten for one of my paintings at an auction is $1,500, which is shocking for me and humbling to have somebody that wants one of your paintings, and knowing some of the notables who've hung them in their homes."

Last year, Dickson raised more than $20,000 for various organizations.We asked him about his goals regarding his art. His answer was to "just keep painting," a goal worthy of the spirit of East Tennessee.


If you know someone who exemplifies the Spirit of East Tennessee, contact Gene Patterson at gpatterson@wate.com.

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