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Barbara Cuthel Empowers Special Needs Children & Adults Through Art

March 3, 2014

Impact Stories

Barbara Cuthel is the Founder and Co-Curator of ArtShare for HeartShare, a gallery exhibit featuring artwork created by children and adults with disabilities participating in HeartShare programs. The artists’ repertoire includes drawings, paintings, collages, photographs and prints. This multimedia collection also includes HeartShare’s Jewelry Studio featuring hand-crafted necklaces, earrings and bracelets. “This exhibition is just one of many ways that HeartShare shows New York communities how capable this population really is. Their art has the creativity, imagination, energy and fresh perspective not seen among some trained contemporary artists,” observed Ms. Cuthel.
Barbara started working on the ArtShare for HeartShare show in January 2009, volunteering close to a thousand hours a year in planning the exhibition. Starting with about 35 submissions, ArtShare now features up to 50 artists creating over 200 new works annually. As a self-sustaining program, the proceeds from art and jewelry sales directly support the purchase of quality supplies, framing and gallery space. With supportive partners and funding from the Brooklyn Arts Council, ArtShare has exhibited work throughout the New York community, including the New Century Artists Gallery, Governors Island Art Show and lobby displays. This November, ArtShare will be exhibited at Central Booking on the Lower East Side.
The beginning of the strong bond between Ms. Cuthel, as both artist and advocate, and HeartShare was in 2008, when Barbara became a parent member of HeartShare’s Project Choice, part of the OMRDD Consortium for Alternative Housing. Due to her transformative leadership, selfless volunteerism and steadfast belief in HeartShare artists’ limitless talent and potential, the continued success and breath of ArtShare today is owed to Cuthel.