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Painting the Saints

When the St. Anthony’s Dining Room reopens for inside dining, new artwork will grace the walls. Created by local artist Sylvester “Slick” Guard, the pieces celebrates key figures in St. Anthony’s history and the values that guide our work. St. Francis, and Father Alfred Boedekker, and St. Anthony himself are all featured, along with their unique contributions.

“I wanted to do something that people need these days — and faith and hope and humanity is what we need”

local artist Sylvester “Slick” Guard

Before he started to draw, Slick conducted significant research into the lives of the three men he chose to depict, learning about St. Anthony’s wisdom, Francis’ relationship with animals, and Boedekker’s devotion to the Tenderloin. He found the stories captivating.

“These people gave everything to help other people,” says Slick. “It stirs the soul to do better.”

Speaking about his own work, the artist is humble. In his mind, the multi-panel painting will be anything but a centerpiece.

“I don’t want the art to take away from the meal or the dining room or the people,” he says. “I wanted to make something that was more playful and colorful, something that kids could look at and play under it and not feel bad.”

Slick knows a thing or two about being a kid in the St. Anthony’s dining room because he once was one. Homeless at the age of 14, he used to eat meals at St. Anthony’s. Now 40, Slick has a place of his own and teaches at Hospitality House’s Community Arts Program. His own journey is evidence of what happens when people follow the lead of Anthony, Francis, and Alfred and take care of each other.

“It feels real full circle,” says Slick. “It shows what a little support can do.”

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