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The story behind the 50th anniversary persons served artwork exhibit

By Brad Contento, corporate communications, CARF International

If you have visited the CARF home page recently (or read the blog or received an email from us), you may already know about the persons served artwork display section of our dedicated 50th anniversary webpage. We recently released the second slideshow in this exhibit, which is now available for viewing on the page.

What you may not know is that the artwork being highlighted comes directly from the art that currently decorates the CARF office buildings in Tucson, Arizona, and Washington, DC. Several years ago, CARF invited submissions of artwork from individuals served by accredited programs to decorate the Washington, DC office. The response to that request was so overwhelmingly positive that a second request was sent in 2010 to adorn the larger Tucson headquarters. In total, more than 100 pieces were purchased by CARF from artists of all ages to be hung in the buildings, printed on note cards, and now shared with you.

Each purchased piece that hangs in the CARF buildings is accompanied by the artist’s name and a statement from the artist about what the piece means. The office-wide gallery serves as a constant reminder to employees about the role of persons served in the CARF mission.

We at CARF all seem to have our favorite piece. Mine is titled The Orange Door, by Eamon Burke in Dublin, Ireland.

The Orange Door
The Orange Door
by Eamon Burke

The piece hangs in the hallway about ten feet from my desk. The artist's statement discusses the significance of creating personal art in his rehabilitation process, but leaves the meaning of the door up to the viewer. I enjoy the controlled messiness of the background bleed of color, and the way it has depth and interest while using shades of only orange. The door could be on fire or awash in sunlight from a window. It makes me wonder if it is part of a series, and somewhere out there are blue, purple, or yellow versions that each have different moods.

I spoke with others around CARF to see if there was a piece that stood out to them. Those I asked were eager to share the following:

Mary Jo Fitzgerald, account manager for Medical Rehabilitation
“My favorite piece is the Cinco de Mayo watercolor.”

Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo
by Winston Mani

“Originally, this piece hung in the DC office, where I first saw it. When the DC office moved into smaller space, some of the artwork was transferred to the headquarter office in Tucson. Chris MacDonell [CARF’s managing director of Medical Rehabilitation and International Aging Services/Medical Rehabilitation] asked if there were any pieces that we particularly liked as they decided what to continue to display in DC and what to send to Tucson. I asked about the 'Cinco de Mayo' and it, in a sense, came home. The artist, Winston Mani, was from Green Valley, AZ. I love the vibrant colors and the joy expressed.

“If you are curious about the artist, this newspaper article titled Tons of fun as kids, elderly meet mentions his teaching art to children at the age of 96. Winston Mani took up art in retirement, dying in 2015 at the age of 100.”

Ian Gilbert, publications specialist
“My favorite piece is a sepia-toned photograph titled Sunset with Morgan.”

Sunset with  Morgan
Sunset with Morgan
by Mark J. Shapiro

“The photograph shows an old Morgan. I have always been a strong fan of classic cars and old-style photography. In college, I did a lot of black and white photography along with printing and coloring my finished photographs. This photo reminds me of growing up in Texas and going to car shows with my grandfather.”

Shanna Lawson, account manager for Behavioral Health, Child and Youth Services, and Employment and Community Services
“My favorite piece of artwork is in meeting room 4 (In the Tucson office) and is titled Summer.”

Title: Summer
Artist: Collaborative project of 15 individuals

“I absolutely love the colors in this piece of work. When I see this artwork, it always brings a smile to my face because I feel the colors represent springtime, which always makes me feel renewal and growth. I know that is sort of odd, but, when I sat and thought about it, that is why it makes me smile. I feel newness and hope when I see the canvas during a meeting.”

Bobbie Baker, surveyor liaison
“I love the photograph of the canoe with three trees growing out of it titled Tree Masted Schooner.”

Tree Master Schooner
Tree Masted Schooner
by Mark J. Shapiro

“The canoe looks like it was made from real birch wood. The photograph reminds me of a trip I took recently to Whitefish Point in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While there, I visited the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The most popular shipwreck portrayed in the museum was the SS Edmund Fitzgerald that sank November 10, 1975. The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American great lakes freighter. I remember the song by Gordon Lightfoot played as we watched a very moving movie. I also had lunch in the small town of Paradise, MI.  When I look at this picture, it reminds me of Lake Superior and my wonderful trip that day.”

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

- Gordon Lightfoot

Shelly Johnson, manager of Publication and Communications
“My favorite artwork submission is a pencil drawing by David B. Hawkins from Morrow, GA titled Native Girl.”

Native Girl
Native Girl
by David B. Hawkins

“This drawing was used in the collection that was printed on note cards. I really like this drawing because of the details; the reflection of light in her eyes, the daintiness of her eyebrows and mouth, the design of her earrings, and the texture of her head scarf all are wonderfully done.”

(50th Anniversary)

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