A silent art auction and reception will be held Friday to raise scholarship funds for Samuel’s Heart, a leadership program that seeks to provide scholarships to educate children ages 6-13 in the arts, said Marcy Paul, program coordinator.Paul said she became interested in starting Samuel’s Heart after taking classes at Arts Fifth Avenue with art instructor Jo Dufo, who works with socially and economically disadvantaged children.
Paul said she knew she had to get involved when she saw the artwork Dofu brought out of her students.
“I said, ‘Gosh, we’ve got to do more,'” Paul said. “We’ve got to do more because they’re taking art out of the schools.”
This led Paul to set up Samuel’s Heart. The name is in honor of her son, Samuel, who was born July 13, 1997, with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. This means that his left ventricle did not develop and therefore, could not adequately pump blood through his body, Paul said. He died five days after he was born.
The shape of a heart is the symbol of the program, Samuel’s Heart. Every art piece being auctioned off on Friday will feature a heart shape or design somewhere on it.
After she took art classes with Dufo, an idea started brewing in Paul’s mind. Then one day, Paul’s son, Isaac, now 7, made a heart box in his art class; he colored in a heart outline and, Paul said, he made the left side different from the right.
“I’ve done some things as a way of which to help my healing and grieving, but I never make a heart round like we normally make hearts,” Paul said. “The left side is always different and it’s in honor of Samuel.”
She did not realize the significance of Isaac’s heart until she started thinking about the leadership class she would be teaching.
Isaac’s drawing became the emblem of Samuel’s Heart.
Students who wanted to be involved took the Heart of Leadership class to help plan the event.
“One of the cool things is the personal connections that have really made this a way in which a lot of us have come together to really make this happen, regardless of what that connection is,” Paul said.
Natalie King, a sophomore accounting major, said she thought the Heart of Leadership class sounded interesting to her because she wanted to learn more about event planning. When she learned what the class would be geared toward, she said she was even more motivated.
“I am an advocate of the arts, since I danced for 16 years,” King said. “Therefore, raising money for children who do not have the funds to receive education in the arts is important to me.”
Rachel Walters, a junior middle school education major, said she also likes working with children and has a fine arts background. Walters said she also became involved with Samuel’s Heart when she joined the Heart of Leaderhip class.
“Even though it was stressful at times, wondering if everything would get done in time, I have loved my experience with the class and dealing with Samuel’s Heart,” Walters said. “It is really neat to walk into the room where all of the artwork is kept and see how much support we have had from the community, students and the rest of campus.”
Paul said she has been surprised by the support also. She has received calls from people who will not be able to attend the auction but have requested to put bids down for certain art pieces, she said.
“There’s just this real amount of love out there from people I don’t even know,” Paul said.
After the auction, Paul said scholarships will be distributed either to individual children, or to people who want to host art workshops for children who could not ordinarily pay to attend.
More than 100 pieces of art will be auctioned off at various prices, music will be performed by Clorese Gray, a senior music education major and choir performer, and food will be served.