Heart Gallery: Faces of Foster Care

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Heart Gallery: Faces of Foster Care

“A picture may be worth a thousand words, but for foster children in New York City and across the country, a picture is worth improved self-esteem, and potentially, a new home and family.”

These moving words from CNN refer to photographic portraits of foster children in the “Heart Gallery,” a traveling exhibit that aims to find adoptive families for children in need of a home. Founded in 2001, the first Heart Gallery exhibition was so successful that Heart Gallery groups quickly formed across the U.S to organize photography exhibits resulting in over 5,000 children finding an adoptive family.

This month Duggal Visual Solutions proudly lent our support to Heart Gallery in producing an exhibit of over 100 4ft x 5ft enlarged portraits gently, inviting viewers into the world of foster children, while drawing attention to the mission of the organization: to help children living in foster care realize their dream of finding permanent, loving adoptive families to call their own.

6TH ANNUAL HEART GALLERY NYC EXHIBIT “Faces of Foster Care” opened at Amtrak PENN STATION in Nov. as part of National Adoption Month, followed by a tour throughout the 5 boroughs.

Channeling the power of portrait photography is what makes Heart Gallery unique and tremendously successful. Founder Diane Granito, found a family for the first three children she ever exhibited within an hour of displaying their pictures. “It was almost as if the country was waiting to be told these children are here, because nobody really talked about them before,” says Granito.  Heart Gallery’s work has built a network of volunteer photographers who are notable in their talent for capturing poignant portraits. Celebrity photographers include Robert Ascroft, who has photographed Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz, and Mariah Carey and Howard Schatz whose subjects include Michael Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg and Brooke Shields.

The current exhibition includes works by photographers, Martin Schoeller, James Salzano, Fiona Aboud, Michael Weschler, Bud Glick and Belenna Lauto.  James Salzano, who photographs regularly for Heart Gallery exhibits comments on his experiences—“Getting photographers together with these children in a setting that they are so unfamiliar with but makes them feel so special is such a brilliant concept.  This program gives a face to the issue in such a wonderful way, it really celebrates all of the children and young adults as celebrities.”

Paul Lange, the celebrity photographer who counts Halle Berry, Tyra Banks and Oprah among his clients, remarks, “My whole career was fashion and beauty. The nice thing about it is, instead of selling a product we’re campaigning for a person’s future. It spoke to me to give these kids an opportunity to get a foot up on the ladder.” Lange said his biggest surprise was the “genuineness” in the children’s expression. “It’s like they’re saying, I’m a good person inside. Give me a chance. They’re dying for an opportunity for someone to step forward and take a chance on them,” he said.

Faces of Foster Care will travel throughout the five boroughs touching the hearts of thousands who view it and hopefully connect the children with “forever homes.” The Heart Gallery has given all of us in the photography industry an amazing opportunity to make a lasting  difference in the lives of children and the families who adopt them, and Duggal is truly proud to have lent its support for this noble cause.