Affected

Tomorrow, Sunday March 5 between 4pm and 6pm I will be having an opening reception a new show - Seasonally Affected - at the Roundhouse Bakery & Cafe in Cambridge, NY.There is never a wrong time to go to the cafe, but tomorrow will be something more than a reception for me.   Tomorrow I will officially kick off fundraising for a project to get art supplies into the hands of children going through difficult transitions that's been germinating beneath the snow this winter.The project, DrawPaintCreate, came about after reading Jon Katz's blog, BedlamFarm, and his efforts to help newly-arrived refugees.The agency he works with does an excellent job of meeting the physical needs of the new arrivals, but as I looked at the photos of the new apartments' bare walls, I felt a nagging, silent question about the children in these families who have just emerged from incredible trauma.  It's the same question I have had for years when reading about children living in foster care or who recovering from harrowing events .How do they get back to being kids? How do they get past these events and get back to the incredibly important business of growing up?Years ago while trying to move past a childhood trauma and manage a lifelong relationship with bipolar disorder, I discovered art as a powerful tool for processing difficult memories and re-engaging with the world in a positive way.If art saved my life, my kids have given it direction by centering every decision around their physical and emotional needs as well as their futures.  That includes caring about the physical and emotional needs of the other people in their generation, and giving children the tools to express themselves and create their futures.Unsure if there was a want or need for this sort of thing, I put together 5 kits consisting of watercolor paints, colored pencils, sketch and coloring books, and a drawing guide packed in a small drawstring.I then reached out to the US Committee for Refugees in Albany to see if they thought their younger arrivals would benefit from access to art supplies. They came back with a request for 50 kits.  I have since reached out to other groups who serve at-risk children and have been met with enthusiastic responses and offers of help.To that end, I will be kicking in 50% of my share of sales from the show at Roundhouse.  Tomorrow morning, I will also be having a fire starter sale on this website, putting up a number of paintings to  raise money for kits for newly arrived refugees in Albany, NY. Fifty percent of all sales from the website will also go to DrawPaintCreate.If you would like to help, you can purchase a painting or visit www.DrawPaintCreate.org to donate directly and/or purchase an item to go into an art kit.  Every donation is greatly appreciated as it helps to fuel a new creative spark.