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Event celebrates 'park art'

Heise said the arts center will likely exhibit the "Visions of Hamilton Hill" canvases this fall.

Khalil Bey, an art consultant for the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, set up his easel in the corner of the park and painted a scene that included the basketball courts, a few large oak trees and even the Rev. Heise, complete with his identifiable red suspenders.

"It's more an Impressionist work than anything else," said Bey, as he shaded the trunk of his tree, mixing brown and white together. "I'm just trying to get everything in there and then tighten it all up."

Bey said he's been drawing and painting ever since he was a young child growing up in Philadelphia. He's worked as a contractor for many years, but art has always been his first love.

"I used to start with just a horse," said Bey who moved to the Hamilton Hill neighborhood two years ago. "Then I'd add the stage coach and its drivers.

I'd just keep adding on and adding on."

Bey said he works with students at the arts center to help them appreciate arts from the African American perspective.

Bey said that community projects like "Visions on the Hill" will help young people realize the beauty in their own backyards. He said he remembers that when he first began painting, he would paint his neighbors and friends who often sang doo-wop songs in back alleys.

Bey and others at the Hamilton Hill Arts Center encourage similar pursuits for students, incorporating art in both their summer and after school programs.

"We're trying to help the kids get some kind of art thing going on," said Bey, as he finished a brushstroke, rounding out the trunk of the park's giant oak tree.""

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