At Bambinos Cafe, we work hard to make every dish a work of art. We love the beauty of a vibrant, perfectly plated salad alongside a rich, delectable bowl of pasta. Food is our artistic specialty, but our walls showcase our passion for local art.
Did you know that all of the art that adorns our walls comes from local artists, and it’s all for sale? We couldn’t do it without the help of Sandra Graves Letson, our volunteer art curator. Sandra is a retired Springfield Public Schools orchestra teacher and she started partnering with us several years ago after establishing herself as a regular at our restaurant.
“We love all the dishes,” Sandra told us, who frequents Bambinos with her husband. “But my favorite would have to be the Greek.” Sandra became acquainted with our owners and decided to leverage her connections to the local arts community.
Sandra’s extensive experience with the arts includes seven years as an officer in the Studio 55 Fine Arts Guild and a term as president. She has also served in leadership with Friends of the Springfield Art Museum, playing a key role in the museum’s artist speaker series.
Sandra isn’t just a supporter of the arts. She’s an artist herself. She personally draws inspiration from the art of Georgia O’Keeffe. Sandra’s interest in art first began in elementary school, and her mediums have ranged from quilting to watercolor.
After retirement, Sandra began studying photography with a special interest in macro photography. Alongside her husband, she has served as a volunteer photographer for several organizations including the local Friends of the Garden chapter.
Sandra was chosen by the Greater Ozarks Hosta Society to take photos at the Close Memorial Park Hosta Garden. Her photos, which were published in the American Hosta Society Journal, helped drive the garden’s selection as one of 18 National Display Gardens. Impressed yet?
Along with being an accomplished artist, Sandra is a generous volunteer. She doesn’t charge for hanging the art at our restaurants, nor does she take commission on any of the art sales. So why does she do it? She tell us that her goal for this project is to promote local artists and art and share with the public all of the talent we’re so lucky have here in Springfield.
The walls at Bambinos typically contain the work of six to ten professional artists. Most of the work is vibrantly colored, showcasing the talents of a broad variety of locals. Sandra tells us that she tries to have many large pieces, usually more contemporary and usually very colorful. She occasionally enjoys mixing in smaller pieces for variety including more traditional pen and ink drawings and photographs.
For us, it doesn’t get any better than supporting local talent. Sandra’s work is a crucial part of our mission to be one of the top restaurants in Springfield Missouri by providing great food, great atmosphere and great support for our community. As the holiday season approaches, consider purchasing local art from our gallery for your loved ones. It’s the perfect way to help the local art scene thrive. We can vouch for the fact that these pieces will look great on any wall.