Dea Dea Baker | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Dea Dea Baker

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Dea Dea Baker is selling her original watercolor and prints to benefit the MCHS at The Everyday Gardener beginning tonight at Fondren Unwrapped.

When Dea Dea Baker graduated from the University of Colorado in 1978 with a business degree, she never thought she would leave her adopted home of Boulder to come back to her hometown of Jackson. Love, however, had other plans for Baker.

Those plans included her hometown friend Adolph Baker, who visited her often and told her that "the wonderful skiing" is what brought him to Boulder time and time again. But the last time Adolph came home to Jackson, he brought with him something more than skiing stories: Dea Dea and Adolph married in 1980, and after 29 years of marriage and two daughters—Rachel, 25, and Jessie, 23—Dea Dea says she doesn't miss Boulder anymore.

Today, Baker's focus is her love of art: No matter where she goes, she is never without her watercolors. Baker says enjoyed painting with her daughters when they were small, but as soon as her youngest started school full time, she went in search of an instructor.

"I went that very same week to start art classes," she says, eventually finding a teacher in local artist Ann Barron. "She told me 'no' at first. Then after she thought about it, she told me to get six friends together and she would teach us. She's a purist, and so she probably wouldn't like my work today."

Baker, 53, says that proper marketing of her work is what has brought her the most success in selling her pieces. "You have to get out there," she says, offering her advice to fellow artists who want to make a living with their art. They "cannot have a hundred of their paintings under their beds at home."

After seeing one of Baker's Christmas cards for Mississippi Children's Home Services, Jan Wade and Pam Turner of The Everyday Gardener approached her with a fundraising idea for the organization. Baker, who was once on the Board of Trustees for MCHS, couldn't say no.

Tonight (Nov.19, from 5 to 9 p.m. during Fondren Unwrapped), Baker will sign 100 of her angel prints at The Everyday Gardner (2905 Old Canton Road), which will offer the framed, high-end giclee prints at $74.99 each. Patrons can also bid on the original watercolor, which will be sold through a silent auction tonight. All proceeds from Baker's original and the prints will go to benefit Mississippi Children's Home Services.

"Mississippi Children's Home Services gives the children in their care the 'roots and wings' that they need to lead healthy, productive lives," Baker said in a release.

"It feels so good to give back," Baker told the JFP. "Each painting is a little bit of me."

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