Melanie shares her passion of art through teaching people of all ages, and her favorite age group is children (she often says that they teach her as much as she teaches them). Some artists, and really all of us in general, can get stuck doing things a certain way as a matter of habit. Melanie was once inspired to take a child student’s advice and added a tiny bit of glitter to a painting—and it was transformed! If you look very closely at several paintings in the series, you’ll catch the tiniest glimmer of glitter, something Melanie thought she’d never do.
In May of 2013, Melanie was teaching an adult art class and had an immediate connection with a couple there. After the class, they had a long conversation and the gentleman relayed that he now understood why his niece loved art so much. His niece happened to be Emilie Parker, who was one of the 20 young lives taken at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012. Emilie was an avid artist, constantly sketching and painting, even when she was supposed to be sleeping!
Last month, Melanie was reading a blog by Robbie Parker, Emilie’s father. In it, he revealed that they had created a foundation in Emilie’s honor: The Emilie Parker Art Connection. Emilie’s parents wanted to give other kids the opportunity to take art classes, so this foundation helps support arts in schools and communities. When Melanie heard this, she was deeply moved. Since her Serenity series is about healing and finding a place of peace, she knew that a portion of her sales must go to the foundation. Emilie dreamed that one day she would own an art gallery, but at least we can give Emilie a place of honor next to Melanie’s work now showing in The Gallery @NHG.
by Sandi Holmes-Schwedler, NHG Senior Buyer and Co-Curator of The Gallery @NHG