LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Postcard from Haiti
“I think art can change anyone’s life – I think it does everyday.”
-Kelly Sullivan, Painter & Producer of Mighty Fingers Facing Change
“Ever since I started creating collaborative art twenty years ago, I’ve wanted to do something that represented the whole world – our shared humanity,” says Lambertville, New Jersey-based painter Kelly Sullivan, the brainchild behind “FingerSmears,” large commemorative paintings created with dabs of paint from hundreds, sometimes thousands, of participants under her direction.
Rock stars and movie stars (Bruce Springstein, the Rolling Stones, Harrison Ford to name a few) fundraisers, athletes, teachers and eighth-grade girls have painted with Kelly Sullivan.
With an emphsasis on global education and art, Sullivan’s most recent project, Mighty Fingers-Facing Change (MFFC) connects, inspires and empowers adolescent girls (and the organizations that support them). MFFC aims to bring a unifying spotlight to the numerous organizations that work to improve the lives of women and girls around the world, ultimately leading to strengthened communities on a local and global level.
Last month, in November of 2013, Sullivan took the MFFC team (including videographer, Toni Tru, and Sullivan’s daughter, Aidan, who writes the Mighty Girls blog) to location number five – Haiti, where after months of planning, she worked with three different organizations on the ground.
MFFC’s two-part art project, includes a self-portrait excercise and particpation in the first ever global FingerSmear canvas entitled, “Abundance.” “In many places it is not common for a girl to say what she wants. People don’t often ask them what they feel. The art, and how the project is presented helps get girls to that place,” adds Sullivan, who stresses that her desire to empower girls through art is a two-way street.
“I was in Haiti as much for my own empowerment as I was for the girls. In order to empower them, I must empower myself first–and painting on a rooftop in Port au Prince somehow did that for me.”-Kelly Sullivan
“I guess I chose adolescent girls because I used to be one, one with a different point of view, one that really had to speak her mind to get what she wanted. Adolescent girls are largely underserved and also have the unique power to change the course of their community. Just give them permission to rule their world, and they will.” -Kelly Sullivan
“In Haiti, I quickly learned about the imbalance of the rights of women on a level as basic as the arts. The expectations that paint is reserved for men here and that women are expected to stick to papier-mâché was unsettling. I asked if there were any women leaders in their government that they admired. “No, there are only a few and they are all feminists,” one woman answered. I asked “Oh, what’s wrong with that?” She recounted an old adage about a chicken being a chicken, and a rooster being a rooster, and that it was unnatural for the chicken to act like a rooster…she also added that it was especially bad if they disrespected their husbands in the process. I found that troubling in a place where violence against women and girls runs rampant.” -Kelly Sullivan
“I loved working with all of the girls in Haiti–in Jacmel and Port au Prince. I remember waiting for the girls of the Father Wasson Angels of Light (FWOL) to arrive. I was standing there on the porch and they all walked up and kissed my cheek and said, ‘Bon Jour, Bon Jour, Bon Jour’… it was very sweet and they made me feel extremely welcomed. My whole experience there was great – the school, the kids home, the staff – all of the love was very evident in the faces of the kids. I wished I could do more – I still think of those girls and wonder, what’s next for them? How can they go to college, how can they find a job, how can they support themselves without opportunity? They have to create it. They have to think outside the limits of what is available, and create something – because otherwise, it likely does not exist.” -Kelly Sullivan
“I hope girls are given a fighting chance to succeed and shine, and that if they are not, they fight for the right to do so. They are the best solution. The leadership in every country I’ve been to would be wise to operate with a bit more compassion for the masses, instead of the few. I think girls are more likely inclined to do that.” -Kelly Sullivan
“When I was a girl, art was a settling place. I could spend hours drawing in a quite place, perfectly content with who I was and more secure in where I was going, and those moments of quite assurance where formative for me. I hope that Mighty Fingers will help girls see the world from a new perspective, one that offers them more personal choice, and more control over their own future.” -Kelly Sullivan
About Mighty Fingers—Facing Change: A New Jersey-based project that facilitates, through art, a global collaboration among adolescent girls and the organizations that work to support them, ultimately leading to strengthened communities on a local and global level. To inspire, empower, and connect the next generation of change-makers. Join Mighty Fingers Facing Change on Facebook
“Under the Tarps at The Iron Market” (above) 14″ x 11″ oil on linen by Kelly Sullivan, painted on location in Haiti in November, 2013 while Kelly and her “Mighty Fingers Facing Change” team were in Port Au Prince working to empower adolescent girls through the power of art. Kelly Sullivan’s studio/gallery is in Lambertville NJ. You can see more of her works from Haiti and other travels in her studio or at www.KellySullivanFineArt.com
MIGHTY FINGERS FACING CHANGE partnered with the following organizations in Haiti:
Art Creation Foundation for Children: Our mission is simple: we teach street children art so that they may have a future.
Father Wasson Angels of Light: Under the NPH (Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos – Little Brothers and Sisters) International umbrella, the Father Wasson Angels of Light (FWAL) program founded the FWAL primary school “Anges de lumiere”, the St. Anne Baby House (children 0-6 years) and St. Louis Child Protection Camp (children 7-16 years). These homes have been a safe haven for the vulnerable and displaced children from Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010.
The Diaspora Community Services: Diaspora Community Services is a social support service agency that empowers families and individuals to maximize their abilities to succeed through culturally sensitive health promotion, family support services and advocacy.
In 2006, Kimberly Nagy founded Wild River Review with Joy E. Stocke; and in 2009, they founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC. With more than twenty years in the field of publishing, Nagy specializes in market outreach and digital media strategies as well as crafting timeless articles and interviews. She edits many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
Kimberly Nagy is a poet, professional writer, and dedicated reader who has interviewed a number of leading thinkers, including Academy-Award winning filmmaker, Pamela Tanner Boll, MacArthur Genius Award-winning Edwidge Danticat, historian James McPherson, playwright Emily Mann, biologist and novelist, Sunetra Gupta and philosopher Alain de Botton.
Nagy is an author, editor and professional storyteller. She received her BA in history at Rider University where she was influenced by professors who stressed works of literature alongside dates and historical facts–as well as the importance of including the perspectives of women and minorities in the historical record. During a period in which she fell in love with writing and research, Nagy wrote an award-winning paper about the suppression of free speech during World War I, and which featured early 20th century feminist and civil rights leader, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
Nagy continued her graduate studies at University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she studied with Dr. Karen Kupperman, an expert in early contact between Native Americans and the first European settlers. Nagy wrote her Masters thesis, focusing on the work of the first woman to be accepted into the Connecticut Historical Society as well as literary descriptions of Native Americans in Connecticut during the 19th century. Nagy has extensive background and interest in anthropological, oral history and cultural research.
After graduate school, Nagy applied her academic expertise to a career in publishing, in which she worked for two of the world’s foremost publishers—Princeton University Press and W.W. Norton—as well as at Thomson, Institutional Investor Magazine, Routledge UK, and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.
Kimberly Nagy in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
ARTS – FILM REVIEWS
ARTS – MUSIC
ARTS – PHOTOGRAPHY
The Triple Goddess Trials: Fire in the Head: Brigit’s Mysterious Spark
The Triple Goddess Trials: Introduction
The Triple Goddess Trials – Meeting Virginia Woolf at the Strand
The Triple Goddess Trials: Me and Medusa
The Triple Goddess Trials: Aphrodite and the Lightbulb Factory
The Triple Goddess Trials: Goddess of Milk and Honey
The Triple Goddess Trials: Kali’s Ancient Love Song
ASHLEY – Renee Ashley: A Voice Answering a Voice
BELLI – Giocanda Belli – The Page is My Home
BOLL – Pamela Tanner Boll: Dangerous Women: An Interview with Academy Award Winner Pamela Tanner Boll
DANTICAT – Create Dangerously- A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat
CHARBONNEAU – A Cruise Along the Inside Track: With Le Mobile’s Sound Recording Legend Guy Charbonneau
de BOTTON – The Art of Connection: A Conversation with Alain de Botton
GUPTA – Suneptra Gupta – The Elements of Style: The Novelist and Biologist Discusses Metaphor and Science
HANDAL – Nathalie Handal – Love and Strange Horses
KHWAJA – Waqas Khwaja: What a Difference a Word Makes
MAURO: New World Monkeys: An Interview with Nancy Mauro
MORGANSing, Live, & Love Like You Mean It: An Interview with Bertha Morgan
MOSS – Practical Mystic–Robert Moss: On Book Families, Jung and How Dreams Can Save Your Soul
OGLINE – BEN FRANKLIN.COM: Author & Illustrator Tim Ogline explains why Ben Franklin would be a technology evangelist today
OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur and Space Traveler
PALYA – Beata Palya – The Secret World of Songs
SCHIMMEL – Moonlight Science: A Conversation with Molecular Biologist and Entrepreneur, Paul Schimmel
SHORS – Journey into the Male & Female Brain: An Interview with Tracey Shors
von MOLTKE and SIMMS – Dorothy von Moltke and Cliff Simms: Why Independent Bookstores Matter, Part I
WARD – On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part One, and
On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part Two
WILKES – Labor of Love: An Interview With Architect Kevin Wilkes
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library at 100: From the Stacks to the Streets
Paul Holdengraber: The Afterlife of Conversation
That Email Changed My Life: Rolex Arts Initiative. Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Tracy K. Smith Celebrates Rolex Arts Initiative
First Editions / Second Thoughts — Defending Writers: PEN and Christie’s Raise One Million Dollars to Support Freedom of Expression
ON AFRICA: May 4 to May 10 — Behind the Scenes with Director Jakab Orsos: Co-curated by Award-Winning Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Page is My Home: Giaconda Belli – Nicaraguan Poet, Writer and Public Intellectual
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
The Power of Conversation: David Grossman and Nadine Gordimer – The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture
NEW FROM WILD RIVER BOOKS – Brief Eulogies at Roadside Shrines
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library
Wild River Books Announces the Stoutsburg Cemetery Project: The Untold Stories of an African American Burial Ground in New Jersey
Wild River Books: Surprise Encounters by Scott McVay
Wild River Review and Minerva’s Bed & Breakfast Presents – “BITTER” Writing in a Weekend: How to Write About the Things We Can’t Change
ALLEN – Quarks, Parks, and Science in Everyday Life: Filmmaker Chris Allen’s Documentary Where Art Meets Science in a Vacant Lot
HOLT – Rush Holt: An Interview with Rush Holt
MANN – Boundless Theater: An Interview with Emily Mann
Keeping Time: A Conversation with Historian James McPherson