Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Helping Youth Express Themselves Through the Arts

Gabrielle S. Cerminaro was a talented artist, an incredibly creative and giving spirit. As the website for the foundation that bears her name states, "Art was her second passion. Making a difference was her first." 

She came by these traits naturally: getting her beauty and artistic talent and compassion from her parents. I was lucky enough to work with Wendy and Sam many years ago, right around the time when Gabrielle was born. Probably even before. They were (and still are) generous and fun, business leaders who were supportive of students still finding their way, mentors enthusiastic about our lives, and so damn creative. They danced with The Husband and me at our wedding. They are - despite decades and distances later - people we are proud to call friends to this day.

When Gabrielle passed away in August 2011, my heart broke. For my friends as friends and parents, of course, but especially for the loss of a vibrant young woman and for those who would not get to know Gabrielle and her art.

I also knew that her family and friends would find a way to honor Gabrielle's memory while combining her twin passions of art and giving back.

When funding gets cut for the arts (as it often does in our schools, or our nonprofits, or in our communities), it reduces the promise of young people who have tremendous talent. Gabrielle's Arts Foundation is changing that; their mission is to help give youth opportunities to express themselves through the arts.

Since the Foundation has been established, the grants have already started to make a difference. Here's what it has accomplished in just the past year:

Gabrielle’s Arts Foundation has supported St. Augustine Academy for Girls in Norristown, PA by sending a number of girls to the Wayne Art Center for summer art camp. These girls have little hope in their lives and the camp helps to make a difference.

The Gabrielle Cerminaro Memorial Award
Each year through the Wayne Art Center there is an award given honoring Gabrielle. This award is given to a student during the juried student show. This award enables a student to continue their pursuit of the arts.

Wayne Art Center 
Through the Wayne Art Center, Gabrielle's Arts Foundation gave two scholarships for freshman students at Conestoga High School (CHS). These students were selected by the faculty of the art department at CHS keeping in mind the mission of GAF. Both students were "thrilled to be recipients and [have been] propelled into a life of art."

Tyler School of Art  
Joining forces with Tyler School of Art (TSA) and CHS, GAF was proud to sponsor a senior to experience TSA’s summer boot camp. CHS faculty selected this student, supporting the mission of GAF. Students immersed themselves for two weeks spending time creating images for their portfolio that will distinguish them as an exceptional artist. They learn what admissions counselors look for in a portfolio and how to present themselves! This program helps to encourage and support an 11th grade art student to pursue their dream of art school.

Just as Gabrielle did, by pursuing her passion for the arts.

Just as Gabrielle would have undoubtedly continued to do.

Gabrielle's birthday was yesterday, February 19. She would have turned 22. Instead of mourning her loss, her family is celebrating her life and legacy this weekend with a fundraiser this weekend for Gabrielle's Arts Foundation.

We are celebrating Gabrielle's 22nd Birthday
February 24 from 4-7 pm, upstairs at the Berwyn Tavern.
625 East Lancaster Avenue
Berwyn, PA 19312

Free appetizers, drink specials, and amazing giveways from local businesses.Bring whomever you would like! We will have a donation bucket - every dollar counts to help youth express themselves through the arts. 

Donations may be sent to:
Sovereign Bank
Attention: LuAnne Lunger
123 West Lancaster Avenue
Wayne, PA 19087
Your donations to the foundation are tax-deductible.

For more information: 

"To Thine Own Self B Tru"
mural by Gabrielle S. Cerminaro 


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this beautiful article Melissa and capturing the true spirit of Gabrielle and the foundation. We are forever grateful to friends like you who support the arts.

Lisa Gradess Weinstein said...

It is wonderful that the memory of this beautiful young lady is living on thanks to her parents and the generosity of so many people. I can't handle hearing of the loss of someone so heart can't handle it. How do you go on?