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Residing in Beaumont

Reside Beaumont. Create, Learn, Cultivate

When Brooke Buckmaster moved to Beaumont, she wasn’t sure what Beaumont had to offer.

“I moved to Beaumont about a year and a half ago, and was not really calling this place a home,” she said. “At the beginning of last year, I made an effort to dig my heels in and find things that made Beaumont feel like home. I was overwhelmed by how much there was here.”

Buckmaster decided to organize Reside Beaumont, held March 23 in the Jefferson Theatre, to show how much this community has to offer.

“That is the heart behind it,” she said. “I think there is a lot of people that either go to school here, or come here for work, and are looking for things to help call Beaumont home. So I thought, what better way than to share all of that in one day.”

Reside is a celebration of all things Beaumont.

“I think there are always new things to learn about your city, whether you have lived here for 20 year or four months,” Buckmaster said. “The goal for today was to leave with some nuggets of inspiration to start your own things, or have a new-found appreciation for the community you are in. Reside was all about finding your niche.”

Buckmaster partnered with the City of Beaumont to create the event.

“If all of the citizens of Beaumont had the warmth and the wanting to do things like Brooke did, what a great city we would have,” Mayor Becky Ames said. “She came to Beaumont and at first she thought, ‘Oh I do not now,’ but then as she looked at all the different things we had happening, she was excited and wanted to put on this event.”

Reside was created to dispute the misconception that Beaumont has nothing to offer.

“Sometimes we are our own worst enemies,” Ames said. “I hear so many times that there is nothing to do in Beaumont, but there is. We have a great city. You do not have to drive one and a half hours away to find great food, to find great art and to find great people.”

Ames said the guest speakers are some of Beaumont’s most relevant and critical creators. Becki Steadman is co-founder of Beaumont Farmers’ Market.

“In 2008, a friend and I got together, and we were talking about how much we enjoy going to farmers’ markets in other communities,” Stedman said. “We enjoyed seeing the local foods that were seasonal, listening to their music and visiting with their farmers. We were a little disappointed that Beaumont did not have a market.”

Stedman and her friend decided to start the market here.

“We were really determined that we would have this in downtown Beaumont, and the city was very generous and offered us the location in front of the public library on Main Street,” Stedman said. “In May of 2010, we opened downtown with six vendors, and by the time we closed at the beginning of October, we had 18.”

Sharon Begnaud is co-founder of The Giving Field, which supplies fresh food to soup kitchens.

“I used to work at the soup kitchens a lot, and they had a lot of canned and processed foods but not a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said. “The soup kitchens do a good job, but they just do not have the budget for these great fruits and vegetables.”

Begnaud had a one-acre piece of property, and decided to use it to help the kitchens.

“We thought it would be great to have raised vegetable beds out there and send everything that we harvest to area soup kitchens to feed the hungry,” she said. “It was a great vision, and our community rallied around it.”

The Giving Field is now six-years old, and in that time has donated more than 40,000 pounds of food to area soup kitchens.

“It is because of our community that this works,” Begnaud said.

The theme of Reside is finding one’s niche. Greg Busceme, president of The Art Studio, Inc., said he wanted to bring his passion to his home town.

“What I felt about Beaumont at one point was, that if I am going to live in it, I need to have something to live for,” he said. “That is where the studio came up, this is where my passion was.

“In a lot of ways, my life has been following paths, and I do not know where they lead but it is always nice to follow them.”

Artist Herman Davis attended the event and said that he got more than he expected.

“I have learned a lot about the museums and different people,” he said. “I now know I can go around, and just how they started Reside, I can do this for myself from where I am at in my community and not just look for someone else. I can start for me. Because that is where it starts from, you.”

Guest speaker Glenda Hughes, founder of Blumen Farms, said she wanted to impact her community after returning from living abroad in Germany.

“We did not choose Beaumont, Beaumont chose us,” she said. “Coming back after being overseas, realizing that I wanted to have a place in the community and that we would be here longer, is how the local farm started.”

Hughes was not the only speaker who said she realized that Beaumont was where she belonged after travelling.

“My heart is here,” Rachel Wilson of Wild Earth Texas said. “Beaumont can get a bad rap of being boring. If you think that then you are not looking hard enough. There is so much happening here, and there is so much diversity in our community. There is so much in the arts and the museums. There are so many different people brought here by the plants, that it just creates this melting pot of unique and interesting people.”

Members of the audience left with a new-found appreciation for Beaumont.

“I think we need to be more fearless in terms of our community,” Dallas native Michelle Dawson said. “Change the cultural message that Beaumont is not worth your time, and spread the message that Beaumont is awesome.”


Category: News