‘Women of Mass Construction,’ Ashlee Swift

11″ x 14″ oil on masonite board

Gallery caption:

Youth Alive seeks to enhance youths’ life experiences by giving them role models and a network of support mentors to guide and direct them in their developmental years as they become our future leaders.

The organization’s executive director, Kenny Boyd, recently told me one of his top priorities for the week was securing the remainder of Ashlee’s St. Francis High School tuition. Ashlee loves attending St Francis, an educational opportunity she would have missed out on otherwise. She commends Youth Alive for bringing racial diversity to the high school’s student body.

Ashlee’s quote in the painting:

Some people give up on kids.   They don’t do that. We have mentors who pretty much become our best friends. When I see them, they always give me a big hug.

“Women of Mass Construction” was a grant-funded project I undertook in 2008 wherein I interviewed 15 women and girls who were clients of a Kentucky nonprofit that helped them make a positive transformation in their lives. After collecting their stories and photos, I painted their portraits (12 portraits; 3 paintings include 2 people), which were exhibited at Gallery NuLu in Louisville, Kentucky. Nearly all of the portrait subjects, their families, and staff of the participating charities attended the opening. Donations from gallery guests and a portion of my sales were given to the Women’s Second Chance College Scholarship Fund.

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