“Inspiration” Series

Posted by Graham on 2/1/2012 in Art Gallery | Current Events

The post below is from Robin Baldwin, of Creative Freedom.

My "Inspiration Series" of paintings is definitely a personal favorite.  This is a collection of portraits to honor the public figures that have most influenced and shaped the way I think about life, social issues and love.  The series includes portraits of Musician/Singer India Arie, Blessed Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Scholar/Activist Dr. Cornel West.  I believe each of these individuals live/d with honor and most of all with a purpose to serve others.  Their philosophies preach love and selflessness and provide examples of peaceful societal problem solving.  So you can imagine what an amazing experience it was when I had the opportunity to actually meet Dr. Cornel West and present him with his portrait.

Cornel West & Tavis Smiley have been traveling the country on The Poverty Tour: A Call to Consciousness.  The mission of the tour is "to highlight the plight of the poor people of all races, colors, and creeds so they will not be forgotten, ignored, or rendered invisible during this difficult and dangerous time of economic deprivation and political cowardice."  They scheduled a stop at my Alma mater, the University of Florida.  Dr. West was scheduled to meet with the "Occupy Gainesville" participants for a rally against corporate greed.  When I arrived to the rally, portrait in hand, many news reporters asked for interviews and information about my painting.  Though he was very busy speaking to individuals attending the rally, one of Dr. West's employees pulled me to the side and introduced me to him so I could present the painting.

As I gave him the portrait I explained how important his influence has been on me as I move forward in my passion to reform public education in the US to close the racial achievement gap.  He was very loving and took time to talk to me about my aspirations and motivated me to stay strong and continue to nurture myself creatively.  I was also flattered by his reaction to my portrait, which he truly seemed touched by.  Hours later, after the rally was coming to a close, Dr. West found me again amongst the hundreds of people to hug and thank me again for my gift.  Partnered with each piece in the Inspiration Series is a favorite quote from the subject.  Dr. West's portrait is always partnered with his quote, "Justice is what love looks like in public", which I think perfectly sums up why he dedicates his life to others.  I attempt to live my life with a similar motto.

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Know Your Ancestors

Sister Helen Theresa Ferriter

photo b. October 8, 1870
d. November 17, 1945

Helen Theresa Ferriter was born in 1870 to immigrant parents from the Dingle Peninsula area of Ireland.  She was the tenth child of Nicholas and Mary Ann (Sullivan) Ferriter.  Her oldest brother, Michael James Ferriter, was 17 and working in the coal mines along with his father.  Her youngest sibling was John Joseph Ferriter, age 5.  Four of the nine children born before her had not survived childhood, with one dying as an infant and three dying as toddlers.  Barclay Village no longer exists. At one time, it was a very busy community that sprouted up in 1850 around the coal mines and the rail... Read More