Natalia Temesgen

12-year-old boy needs help creating a Christmas miracle for a homeless artist

A few weeks ago during the On the Table events, many people discussed the lack of “good news” in our local media.

This wasn’t a critique on the quality of journalism so much as the content of the headlining stories. It isn’t a novel complaint; headlines have long tended toward the sensational and fear-inducing. But I noted the feedback and decided that I would make an effort to highlight more “good news” in our area.

I recently got an email from my friend and acclaimed artist, Betsy Eby, who is also a Columbus resident. Her husband, Bo Bartlett, is also a celebrated artist and his center has been collaborating all year with the Chattahoochee Valley Jail Ministries and the SafeHouse at Rose Hill United Methodist Church on an art-based ministry for the local homeless community called “Home is Where the Art Is.”

Betsy’s email contained a letter from her 12-year old friend, Jack Flournoy. Jack is in the process of attempting to create a Christmas miracle of sorts for a local homeless artist named Max. Even though he is a young man, Jack is clearly motivated to serve his fellow man and keep the spirit of Christmas alive through his efforts.

I will allow Jack to speak for himself for a moment. Please join me in supporting this “good news” in our community.


This is Jack. Meet my new friend Max. Max is a local artist. Max is also homeless.

Max has spent over a year creating a church out of cardboard and paint. He is a self-taught artist who created GI Joe figures for his young son when money was tight.

When my parents and I first saw Max’s church at the museum during a Home is Where the Art is (HIWTHA) art show last spring, we were blown away by Max’s talent and by Max himself—he is a really cool guy!

Max has continued to expand his church since last spring, and it is nearing completion. Recently, a light bulb turned on with the help of my friends Bo and Betsy! What if I could help raise money to purchase the church from Max? My goal is to raise $2,500 to buy the church from Max. This could help Max have a really awesome Christmas and New Year.

Donating is easy! You can send check made out to Anna Flournoy (3312 Hilton Avenue, Columbus, GA 31906), cash, or

My first donation was from my younger brother William. He heard Max’s story and gave me $20. Will you please consider making a big difference in the life of Max? Any donations are taken with gratitude. And if you chose to donate $250 or more, I will send you an original Jack doodle on your thank you note!

Thanks for spreading Christmas cheer this year!

Best wishes,

Jack Flournoy

At the moment, Bo, Betsy and their friend Jack are looking for a local institution where the art can be housed and regularly shared with the community that purchased it. If you have great ideas, pass them along to this incredible team.

Natalia Naman Temesgen is an independent contractor. Contact her at