Coffee Shop Bookcase Promotes Literacy In Fort Smith

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- One in-house painter at a local coffee shop is making a difference indirectly -- with her art. Pat Riggs has been a painter since she was a child.

She exclaimed, "All I want to do is paint."

Riggs' history is rooted in Fort Smith. Her great-grandfather was a court crier for Judge Isaac Parker.  The newest venture she's undertaking is as an in-house artist for the Artistic Bean, but her paintings are doing more than decorating the inside of the shop.

"The (Arkansas) Literacy Council, since I had done (a) mural of them, they contacted me when they opened the coffee shop, and said, 'can we possibly put a bookcase down there with the reading materials where people could either purchase a book for a donation of a dollar or browse and read the book as they're lounging in the coffee shop,'" Riggs said.

The literacy council is a non-profit that teaches adults how to read and write. Now, all Pat does is paint.

"I don't use air-brush," she proudly stated, "I do all my paintings by hand."

Meanwhile, the bookcase she indirectly created is helping promote literacy in Fort Smith.