Misti Freeman Staley, an artist living and working in Helena, Arkansas, received her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 2004. After school she lived in Atlanta, Georgia running her business, Gossamery Finishes, where she worked with high-end home designers gilding, painting murals, faux finishing, Venetian plastering and more.
In 2008 Staley moved to Brooklyn, New York to pursue her career as a faux finisher and mural artist. Misti then married her husband William Staley in 2010 and moved with him to Helena, Arkansas to help instill a love of the arts in the people of Phillips County through Thrive, a nonprofit design firm that works with local school children, leading them through the design process to better their community.
Misti’s current work includes outdoor mural paintings, fine oil painted portraits on canvas, and teaching after-school art classes that bring students together from every area within Helena-West Helena, where new friendships can be made based on each student’s love to create. Read more information, sponsor an art student, sign up for classes, and view the student’s artwork on the Helena Art Classes Facebook page.
Misti also runs the Freeman Foundation. Will and Misti’s son Freeman Ellis Staley was born in 2015 with heart and lung complications. They spent 3.5 months in the Little Rock Arkansas Children’s Hospital NICU, home for 5 weeks, and then back in the PICU for another 5 months before Freeman lost his battle at almost 10 months old. After Freeman’s passing Will and Misti raised $250K to build Freeman Playground, a Delta-themed, ADA accessible playground in downtown Helena that they personally designed. Freeman Playground is the only Arkansas playground within 90 miles of Helena with ramps on the equipment for children with special needs. Freeman Playground brings joy to the community while remembering Freeman and the many other children who have left this world too soon.
JUROR, BOARDS, AND AWARDS
Juror and Curator:
~2013 Arkansas Heritage Month art show juror
~2011-2018 Children’s King Biscuit Blues Fest Poster juror
~2018 Helena on the Mississippi en Plein Air art show juror
~2019 Governor’s Awards on Tourism, Henry Award for the interactive, hand-painted Helena Postcard Mural Series
~2019 Alpha Kappa Alpha Community Service Award for encouraging creativity in area youth through mural workshops and designing and building Freeman Playground
~2019 Arkansas Business 40 Under 40