102 interiors+sources september2017 interiorsandsources.com
It’s easy to take for granted the ways in which art enhances our everyday lives, and at times it can go unnoticed. But there’s no denying that a strategically placed painting or sculpture can turn a high-anxiety space—like a dentist’s waiting room—into a more calming oasis. For those living with HIV and AIDS
in Austin, Texas, and using the AIDS Services of Austin (ASA), the artwork donated
by Terry Eaton and Robert Williams of Eaton Fine Art to both its main campus offices
and community dental clinic delivers a bit of joy.
“The importance for us is for [the space] not to feel sterile, and for it not to feel
like somebody doesn’t care for the individuals within the space,” Eaton explained.
“With this particular project, we asked, ‘How can we provide creativity in the artwork
so that one forgets their trepidation or apprehension and anxiousness about being
in a dental chair?’ I don’t know about you, but [neither] Robert nor I love going to a
dentist, so if we can be distracted or look at this really beautiful image while waiting
or sitting in the dental chair, great.”
Having built a passion around philanthropic efforts, Eaton and Williams’ collabora-
tion with ASA began about four years ago. Originally, ASA had asked for the potential
donation of two pieces of art for its main campus offices, but after the initial visit,
Williams returned to Eaton with a plan to donate their time and resources so that the
entire office could be filled with curated artwork. “When Robert went over there, it quickly
went from a couple pieces in the front to donating artwork for the entire campus,” Eaton
said, “including corridors and conference rooms. [Artwork] enhances one’s space, both
for the individuals who utilize the space—be it their food bank or meetings—as well as
the employees. We wanted to bring a special moment of light and levity to the spaces.”
Williams pointed out that their second collaboration with ASA—the community
dental clinic—came about because a new, state-of-the-art facility was being built,
and organizers intended to rehang art from the ‘70s. In contrast, Eaton explained,
hanging new artwork doesn’t just nix potential feelings of dread in patients, but shows
that somebody in their community cares. “It’s something we’re passionate about.
At least from our perspective, [hanging old works] is like someone really didn’t care
enough to update [the space].”
Eaton and Williams intend to continue collaborating with the ASA for as long as
the organization continues to grow and needs updated art. And for those in need
of ASA’s services, they’ll continue to be surrounded by beautiful artwork with the
reminder that people certainly care.
By Kadie Yale | Photography by Kurt Forschen
Providing one’s time and resources
to the community doesn’t have to be
a grand endeavor. Both Eaton and
Williams suggest finding the causes
you’re passionate about, and contacting
local organizations to find out the
ways in which they can use help.
Because of the nature of non-profits,
budgets for design are minimal, if
they exist at all, so volunteering even
a fraction of your time to providing
interior design consultations can help
those who will use the space. As
Eaton and Williams pointed out, it’s
fairly simple to show the future users
of the space that someone cares.
Local HIV testing sites and care
facilities can be found at hiv.gov/locator.
EATON FINE ART
What started as a plan to donate a couple pieces of art to the AIDS Services of Austin took on a life of its own.
ABOVE Terry Eaton and Robert Williams,
founders of Eaton Fine Art, are passionate
ABOVE LEFT TO RIGHT After curating and
donating artwork to the AIDS Services of
Austin (ASA) main offices (center and right),
Eaton and Williams took on the ASA’s new
community dental clinic. “The importance
for us,” Eaton said, “is for [the space] not
to feel sterile, and for it not to feel like
somebody doesn't care for the individuals
within the space.”
BELOW Eaton and Williams took on the ASA
projects because of their philanthropic
natures and understanding that art has the
power to transform a person's experience.