Through our commitment to all children,  GSVA  is reaching out to grieving children in Central Ohio. It may be hard to believe, but hundreds of local children are currently grieving from the loss of a parent due to death or abandonment each year. These children are our neighbors in Granville, Newark and beyond, and GSVA believes they deserve the healing opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings through art.

This year through our scholarship program, I have personally had the privilege of getting to know two orphaned teenagers; the experience of working with them has moved me to write this letter and brought me to a greater understanding of the impact GSVA can have upon anyone involved with these children, myself included.

When I first began working with these orphans, I had no knowledge of their situation. I thought they were happy kids with an apparently natural ability to express themselves artistically. As their worked progressed, I commented on their self-portraits. I asked one of the children why he had portrayed himself in a sad, almost angry, manner. I was clearly baffled—why would an exuberant, wonderfully talented young person portray himself in such an opposite manner? In response, this teenager simply smiled and said, “I guess I’m only happy when I’m here.”

The power of these words struck me then, but it was days later that I learned that this boy and his sibling were orphans. I cannot adequately put into words the emotions and feelings that went through me when I thought back on our conversation. Nor can I express enough the gratitude I personally feel toward those who made the GSVA experience possible for my young students.


Paul Hamilton
Creative Director