Art&Soul Dreams is a non-profit dedicated to helping 3000+ children in Michigan’s foster care system in need of adoption (forever families). Art&Soul Dreams brings visibility to children in the community and increase social awareness to increase the rate of adoption. This traveling photography exhibit features portraits of children between the ages of 11-17 taken by award winning Michigan photographers, all who donate their time and talent. Each canvas touches your soul as it displays the child as an exceptional individual; as a work of art.
The first question I ask people when they come to see the Art&Soul Dreams exhibit is, “What do you see?” The responses vary but always invite answers that include, “smiling faces, children, love, future, and family.” I then exclaim, “Exactly!” And then I pause and explain the staggering statistics.
These beautiful children are a small portion of the 14,000 in the Michigan foster care system that are in need adoption. By the time children reach the age of 11, the likelihood of adoption falls dramatically. That is what separates these children from yours and mine. Each of them is looking for a forever family.
Our goal is to help change these statistics in Michigan. We aim to demystify the stigma of foster care children and educate the population so that YOU can be part of the solution. We also feel once you get to know a child you will be moved to action in some way. We harness the power of art to transform the paradigm of how foster children are SEEN. Each child is partnered with a recognized photographer and featured for a year in a monthly traveling exhibit. Art&Soul Dreams is a VOICE for the children. We are not a housing facility or an agency. I am a mom who firmly believes that through the power of art and love we can change the world. It is our hope that you are moved by the stories, and that you see these children as OURS and not as simply “those” children. We hope you connect to your basic human instinct that each of us feels and needs love.
You can help spread the word and begin your journey by following us on Facebook and Instagram @everychildisaworkofart #artsoulmi.
This exhibit is currently on display at the Ella Sharp Museum until February 25th. Art&Soul Dreams will have a Gallery Talk on February 24th. For more information call Ella Sharp Museum at 517-787-2320
Written by Melissa T. Parks
Melissa T. Parks is the founder of Art&Soul of Oakland County, AKA Art&Soul Dreams, a non-profit dedicated to helping 3000+ children in Michigan’s foster care system in need of adoption (forever families). Melissa finds the time to continue her passion as a practicing artist currently focusing on paintings inspired by contemporary activist artists and the developing dialogue amongst female practitioners. Melissa is the mother two fabulous daughters and her husband is the Executive Vice President for the oldest coffee manufacturing company in Detroit and an entrepreneurial martial arts instructor in Southfield.