When Sandra Long retired from her job with the Marion school system in 2004, she had never painted a picture.
Just over a decade later, she has donated a piece of her work to the Benton Public Library.
"I grew up on South Commercial Street," Long says. "My sister, Mary Lou, and I spend a lot of time at the library."
Long says her idea to donate a piece of her work came from a feeling of community pride.
"I am very proud of our library and of what we have there," she says. "I used it a lot as a child."
Long has painted several works after taking private lessons from local artist and teacher Carmen Clark of Herrin.
"I'm not really a good artist, but it's something I've always enjoyed," she says.
"I've admired different artists, many from Benton," she says. Her donation is a winter scene, the first she attempted. "I tend to paint a lot of flowers and still life."
Long says she also feels that giving the painting a permanent home will be a tribute to her parents. "My mom, Hazel Price, lives in Heritage Woods in Benton," says Long. "She'll be 99 in August and still has a better memory than I do."