Monday, May 7, 2012

♥ In Honor and Memory of Marvin ♥

Some of you may remember last month when I announced having my very first Epiphany and had not yet disclosed the catalyst. Well, it hit pretty dang hard at first as my heart weighed heavy and tears rolled down my face so I needed time to reflect and realize the power of what it is that I do. Yes! I discovered something much deeper. Take a moment to read my story and you will understand. ♥

I have known since the day Vanessa Wiley Thompson cried her eyes out when I played her DVD of Keely's first photo session that I had the ability to create tears, smiles, laughter, and forever capture the meaningful moments and deep emotions of those who stood before my lens. Vanessa and Keely were my very first clients and it was Vanessa's words of encouragement and belief that planted the seed that has allowed me to touch the hearts of so many.

I know many of you know about the courageous journey Keely has been on the last 3 years fighting her battle with Leukemia. The day I visited her in Clinic was a day I had to overcome a fear.

--My mission... was to document and tell her story. 

--My goal... was to bring laughter, smiles and lift the gloom and sadness even if just for a little while. (After all, LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE right??) 

--My medium... was he{ART}! 

--My fear... was what people would think about me photographing and smiling when there was so much sadness and heartache that surrounded me. 

Well, something inside me said Make it Happen! I look back now and have no godly idea what I was even preparing to do or what was gonna come of it all. I had stopped at Michaels and grabbed a bunch of art supplies with the idea of dressing up the IV pole and making a character out of it to essentially distract from the god awful IV Bag! I entered with my stomach full of nerves and uncertain how to create the environment I was dreaming of. Turns out all I had to do was provide the suggestion and the right tools! The rest just unfolded due to the hearts of the individuals in the room. This could not have been planned.

 The fun and laughter began. YES! Fun & Laughter in the clinic. Even the nurses joined in and Keely then wanted to share her joy with the other kids and everyone around her. 


We experienced laughter to the point of tears!! It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever been blessed to be a part of and I will tell you WHY!

 That day I witnessed the MOST BEAUTIFUL act by a sweet and tender soul. As Keely shared her funny face that was drawn on her cute little bald head, a little boy approached and kissed her on the head. It brought such a SMILE to this boy’s face that the parents came up to us and said that was the first time Marvin had SMILED in months. WOW! 
 It was Marvin’s first day at Clinic as he was just recently diagnosed with leukemia. I knew that day the power of what had just happened but I never imagined the depth and meaning it would have 3 years later.  I can now look back and say, that was ARTREACH 4 KIDS before I even dreamed of it. But here is the real punch to the he{ART} of the matter. I learned last month that Marvin relapsed during treatment and lost his battle. My heart just sunk. I am always so full of hope and belief that I never even imagined that was a possibility.

I have talked about this beautiful face for 3 years and the story has lived on the walls of my studio for all this time. He was always ALIVE IN MY MIND and I will never forget that SMILE. The part that made me cry for days was when I remembered his parents telling us that was the first time he had smiled in months. I thought to myself...Not only did my decision to show up to clinic that day lead the chain of events that would generate this SMILE , but also that I was there to witness and capture forever one of his LAST SMILES.
Following my passion and desire in using the medium of he{ART} to inspire the hearts of others and provide an emotional outlet was proven to be invaluable that day.

And so an EPIPHANY was born ! The realization of the POWER OF A SMILE. The realization that my whole life people have been telling me TO SMILE and now I get it. The realization that what I do with my life is MAKE PEOPLE SMILE. I choose this because when I can make them SMILE it makes my heart SMILE. 

So in closing I want to leave you all with this. Understand the value of a SMILE. It costs you nothing to give it but could be invaluable to the person who receives it. SMILES truly are contagious and you just never know had badly someone may need one. So just try it. SMILE today at someone you do not know. Chances are they will SMILE back but if not, it doesn’t even matter. You will feel good and you will have made that person feel good even if they are unable to show it. 

I will be working in the near future towards bringing he{ART} into the clinics to help the kids and families through these difficult times. In honor and memory of Marvin I would like to start {FUN}DS 4 SMILES and start a photographic series of these smiling faces. For the first time I have a personal project that inspires the deepest part of my soul. That will be a new chapter once I have finished writing the current one. Keep you posted! To see more photos click here : Album

Alex Amra, owner of Tobacco Road Sports Cafe currently has a fundraising campaign for Keely as a candidate for Man of the Year. If you wish to support this cause to help win the battle against cancer, donations are greatly appreciated. Learn more HERE.

Don't forget to make someone SMILE today :) You never know just how much they may need it or if it may be their last.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 Availabilty


Due to assignments out of town
The Studio will be Closed until August 6th for the 2012 calendar.

If you need to inquire about availability please call 919-337-3200 with information about your event.

**New inquiries and orders will resume upon return in August.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Artreach 4 Kids Gala

First Annual Artreach 4 Kids Gala & Photo Exhibition
[benefiting Artspace Outreach Programs]

(Purchase Tickets by December 31 to receive $10 off and be entered to win a One-night stay at The Umstead Hotel and Spa!)

Who: Artreach 4 Kids, Inc
What: Aspiring Artist of the Year Awards and Silent Auction
Where: Artspace, 201 E Davie St # 101, Raleigh
Why: Learn why ART matters and support this community reaching initiative to empower self discovery & enhance education & personal growth through ART.
When:Jan 26th 7pm-10pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
How: More info and Ticket Purchases available at

This is a unique opportunity for guests to vote for their favorite Aspiring Artists and purchase customized artwork featuring these limited-time editions. Judges will be invited to critique and score the photo entries for Artist of the Year. Winners will be recognized at the Gala and Awards will be presented to Artist of the Year, Peoples Choice and Top Featured Artist.

Join us for an eventful evening of:
  • Wine Tasting & Chocolate Pairing provided by... The Wine Feed
  • Live Jazz with the Soulful and Sultry...Kim Arrington
  • The best cover band in Raleigh -bar none... The Lawn Darts
  • Delicious Local Food! (serving heavy Hors ‘dOeuvres and desserts)
  • Silent Auction items provided by Local Artists and Business's
General admission tickets include event entry, Wine & Choc Tasting, Heavy Hors d’Oeuvres, Photo booth Ticket

VIP tickets include beverages (including the VIP food and bar stations), Wine & Choc Tasting, Photo booth, Special VIP Hosts to serve you throughout the evening


Friday, July 29, 2011

Artreach A-Team Debut

A-Team had an amazing time with the kids at North Hills last night and cant wait to do it again at the ComeUnity Now event tomorrow!

This is just a taste of whats to come for August 13th Artfest!!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Artreach 4 Kids Kickoff Party! RSVP on FB: Click Here!


Sidewalk Chalk Competition led up by local Artist AdAm Peele

Hula Hoop lessons by the amazing Linh "Memory" Pham who was inspired to use Dance and Hooping for excercise and moving meditation as therapy for her fibromyalgia.

Face Painting and Balloon Animals by Justine Smith whose team will show up in Fairy and Pirate costume for the kids.

Mural Art with Ebony Anderson in which adults and kids can get involved and "Put their Art into it"!

Mime Art by a couple of fabulously talented 9 year old by the talented visionary kids from the Field of Dreams Performing Arts Conservatory.

Jewelry Design by the talented visionary Suijin Li.

Door Prizes by various local venues.

And to top it off....
a line up of local Musical Talent. See Line up and Artists below!



Artreach 4 Kids is a Team of passionate individuals in pursuit to heighten the awareness of “Why” the exercise of ART is an ESSENTIAL element for Human Development.

Our goal is to educate on “How” ART enhances children’s’ learning, channels positive thought and behavior and provides an emotional outlet to exercise engagement and build self esteem.

We accomplish this endeavor to empower self-awareness through spirited grassroots initiatives in raising funds to further facilitate school art programs. Art in its many forms can reach children on a variety of levels, and often in a way that traditional approaches and methods may not.

We look forward to having you join us on August 13th for your Kick Off Party:)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

1st Quarter Contest Results are in!

Going another round for "Photographer of the Year Award" with the Wedding Photographic Society! Honored to have placed amongst the top photographers in our area.

Winning Images for Round One:)