Richard Retter, the youngest of nine, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, in an artistic and musical family. He won his first statewide contest in fifth grade. His photograph should’ve appeared in the community magazine next to the second and third place winners; instead they printed his name. The city was consumed with racial tension.
"My teachers, both black and white, made sure I received all of the accolades that accompany being chosen the winner. I was able to attend Shawnee High School for a week and take art classes," he says.
Today, he’s an artist who does stylized pointillism, a painting technique using tiny dots of color. He also sings jazz, pop and gospel, and was a fashion designer.
“I’m a storyteller and I like to paint about current events,” Retter says. “I try to create artwork that children of all different nationalities can relate to and identify with.”
Recently, he was honored again, but this time by the U.S. House of Representatives for his charitable work in Louisville and mentorship of young, elderly and special needs artists.
“My advice to young artists, especially those who have that uncontrollable urge to create, is to believe it. It’s real. A gift from God. Step into it,” he says.