This month I am the featured artist at Michelangelo’s Coffee and Wine Bar in Denver. To celebrate this artistic achievement I hosted a reception there on Saturday, November 7. It was an evening to delight the senses with happy hour extended an additional hour, inspiring music performed and sung by my friend and singer/songwriter Mailyn Faulkner, and nineteen of my original works of art adorning the walls and adding to the ambiance. It was a wonderful experience to sell five of my paintings opening night, but the highlight of the evening was being honored by Tammy Cunningham of The Cunningham Foundation with a HOPE bracelet.
The HOPE bracelets are a fundraising project that provides breakfast, lunch, an education, uniforms and shoes to 1,500 children at the Project Mercy orphanage in Yetebon, Ethiopia through The Cunningham Foundation. During the months of November and December 15% of the proceeds from the sale of my paintings at Michelangelo’s, and Mile Hi Church, will benefit The Cunningham Foundation. So I asked Tammy Cunningham, and fellow artist Laurie Maves, to share with the guests at my reception about the philanthropic work they do at Project Mercy through the foundation. It is with great pride that I wear my HOPE bracelet as it is a constant reminder that by honoring my creative self I am able to have a direct impact on the lives of children in the developing world and that I am living my mission: to send out love into the world one painting at a time.
Photo courtesy of The Cunningham FoundationA first solo art show would be a significant achievement for any artist, but for me it was particularly sweet because eight years ago I could not imagine such an achievement. At that time I was just being reintroduced to art, after denying my creative self for nearly a decade, in the from of art therapy at the hospital I was being treated at for a life threatening bought of depression. Since my breakdown, or what I prefer to call my breakthrough, I have come to realize that it is imperative that I honor my creative self. When I didn’t, life for me was not worth living. So celebrating my first solo art show at Michelangelo’s Coffee and Wine Bar was not just about celebrating an artistic achievement, it was about celebrating life, my life, and a life that I now honor and live to its fullest!
Honoring my creative self and painting brings me joy. But donating a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of my paintings to a cause I support gives my life purpose. Dr. Ernest Holmes once said, “Let the one who is sad, depressed, or unhappy find some altruistic purpose into which he may pour his whole being, and he will find a new inflow of life which he has never dreamed.” And so it is.
After the achievement of being the featured artist at Michelangelo’s, what’s next? I’ve been pondering this question for the past week and answer is simple. To keep living, to keep loving, to keep painting, and to keep bringing attention to the causes that are near and dear to my heart: the philanthropic work of The Cunningham Foundation and eliminating the stigma attached to people who have or continue to struggle with depression.
My solo exhibit at Michelangelo’s Coffee and Wine Bar has been extended two weeks and will run through December 12, 2009. Please visit http://fineartamerica.com/events/1-featured-artist-of-the-month.html for their address and hours.
To learn how you too can support children of the developing world through The Cunningham Foundation please visit http://www.cunninghamfoundation.org/
To view Laurie Maves artwork and learn about her philanthropic endeavors please visit http://www.lauriemavesart.com/