Police Officer’s Paintings Bring About Healing and Connection

"Let's Go Skiing" by Amy Cummins

BY DAY, AMY Cummins is a police officer with more than 20 years of service. In need of a stress-relieving outlet, a yearning to create hit her suddenly and inexplicably four years ago. Trusting her gut, she halted her pursuit of a master's degree in counseling psychology to boldly follow her artistic calling, and in doing so, she discovered that even in the wee hours of the night, when armed with a paintbrush instead of a firearm, her mission was in fact the same: to serve others with empathy and compassion.


She initially sold her art through Facebook, but her business quickly began to flourish. Within a year, the self-taught artist, who now works out of her home studio, had landed a spot in the Art Machine Gallery, a space inside the Silos at Sawyer Yards that is dedicated to promoting emerging and mid-career visual artists from the greater Houston area.

"In Her Colors" by Amy Cummins

This Saturday at 6pm, she will be one of 14 artists whose work will grace the walls of Sabine Street Studios in a free exhibition that marks the culmination of Meet Houston's Artists, a docuseries about the city's resilient visual-art scene directed and produced by MoNique LeRoux. The Sabine Street Studios show runs through April 24. Cummins' six pieces, all measuring 16-by-20-inches, depict abstract flowers, serene landscapes and dreamy horizons, a streamlined and simplified style that she has adopted in her most recent works.

With a history of traumatic sexual abuse, Cummins approaches every blank canvas as a means of healing. Inspired by her surroundings, she brings her mixed-media visions to life through creamy textures, subtle gradations and softening lines by way of blending, a technique she understands well from her brief stint as a makeup artist in her early 20s. Her artwork holds meaning, but she acknowledges that the story behind each particular piece may not strike a chord with everyone.

"Sooner or later, I always say, this will sell," says Cummins, who often receives commissions from fellow sexual assault survivors who request pieces that resonate with the process of moving forward in the wake of violence. "Art speaks to people."

In this way, her job as an artist is as emotionally demanding as her victim-service coordinator role. But through her creative process, Cummins can communicate important stories nonverbally. Last year, Cummins published a picture book, titled My Purpose in Art, and she's in the process of writing two more — a children's book about the traumas of child abuse, and her own autobiography.

By adding the title of author to her long list of roles — which, by the way, also includes mom to a teenage boy, volunteer at the Fort Bend Women's Center and advocate for mental health — Cummins will share her life story and reach out to others, especially those who have walked in her shoes, through yet another medium.

Art + Entertainment

AN INTERVIEW WITH Jon Heine President of Houston Market, Veritex Community Bank

What were your biggest challenges of 2020? Without question the biggest challenge was pivoting from the playbook we had to begin 2020 in order to quickly address the immediate needs of our clients, colleagues and communities. Working with our customers to provide loan payment deferrals and PPP loans through the SBA Payroll Protection Program (Veritex Bank provided over $400 million to 2,100 clients in Round 1) became the immediate priority. This involved a Herculean effort from over 120 of our colleagues in various departments of the Bank who raised their hand to assist not because of an opportunity, but out of obligation to the communities we serve.

Keep Reading Show less

Warren and Rachel Ellsworth and Betty and Jess Tutor

HOUSTON GRAND OPERA officially opened its first live season of shows in two years with a bold, colorful presentation of Bizet's Carmen followed by a fabulous crimson-tented dinner on Ray C. Fish Plaza just outside the theater.

Keep Reading Show less
People + Places

SOME SAY, "LIFE is a bitch and then you die." I say, life is a coach and then you thrive!

Keep Reading Show less
Opinions