You might say that artist Kelsea Beckum is the heartbeat of Oxford.
People often give her sonograms of their baby’s heartbeat, and she creates colorful masterpieces.
“The personal art pieces like the heartbeat art are some of my favorites,” said Ashley Smith, Beckum’s sister in-law. “There is nothing more precious than the heartbeat of someone you love. So being able to capture that feeling and turn it into a visual piece of art to always have is priceless.”
Smith is the mother of two boys, Beckum’s nephews, who often visit Beckum’s home to play and attend Ole Miss sporting events and area festivals. But Beckum and her husband, Chris, have two children of her own, furry dogs named Bella and Ellie.
Beckum enjoys making others happy with art. While trying to maintain a full-time arts and crafts business at home, she has taken a break from her main job as a registered radiologic technologist for 10 years.
“I chose this profession because I love helping people and treating them with a caring heart,” said Beckum who began creating wood-painted artwork about 10 years ago. She and her husband founded K. Beckum Krafts.
She also teaches art classes on the side and pours her heart into family time when possible.
“I love Kelsea as a friend because I never have to question her loyalty,” Smith said. “I know that she will always have my back. Most importantly, I love that I never have to question her love for me and my family. We know that we can depend on her no questions asked.”
Both Beckum and her husband enjoy cutting wood and believe it’s a good stress reliever. She takes sanded wood figures, such as hearts, Christmas ornaments and mascots for college teams, including Colonel Reb and Mississippi State bulldogs. They are transformed into big pieces, such as door hangers. She said she hopes to open a small store in the future.
“Not too big to where it takes away the joy or takes away the emotion involved in each personal creation for our customers,” she said, describing her vision for the store. “Each piece means something special to us and to the customer.”
Beckum sometimes donates art to organizations, such as the MS Critterz animal shelter. Walk in, and you’ll see her artwork in the main lobby with a painted sign encouraging people to adopt rather than shop.
“I love how cheerful and whimsical Kelsea’s art is in each piece that she paints,” Smith said. “There is an unmistakable lighthearted feel to her art that just makes you want to smile.”
Beckum and her husband will attend several art festivals in other towns during the holiday season. She frequently sells pieces during The Oxford Maker’s Market and has a booth at Joyful Creations in Tupelo.
“I believe Oxford has a high demand for arts in the community,” Beckum said, adding that art unites and has a positive impact on adults and children. “Children have such growing and creative minds and should be involved in more inspirational things, such as art … Life is what you make it, I choose to make it colorful and happy.”