Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Heart Gallery

Every year, hundreds of Rhode Island children are in state care, awaiting permanent families. The children are generally between the ages of 5 and 17 and many have emotional, intellectual and/or physical disabilities. Nearly all have suffered abuse or neglect. Some have been waiting for several years and have had multiple placements, resulting in numerous losses and separations.

Eighteen of these children are featured in the 8th annual Rhode Island Heart Gallery, an exhibit of professional portraits by local photographers on view in the Museum’s atrium walkway throughout July. A project sponsored by Adoption Rhode Island, the Heart Gallery has helped increase awareness of the need for loving adoptive homes for children in foster care since 2005.

The Museum also exhibited Heart Gallery photographs in 2007 and staff felt – then and now – a powerful connection to the striking portraits and accompanying booklet, featuring the heartfelt stories, hopes and dreams of the children pictured.

“Christopher is hoping for a family that would love to read him a bedtime story, tuck him in and help him feel safe and loved.”

It’s particularly compelling to have the display at the Museum because our Families Together program – a collaboration with the Department of Children, Youth & Families – works on behalf of children in foster care every day, providing therapeutic visitation to help court-separated families rebuild relationships.

All children need the love and support of a family, and adoption is only one of the ways that people can help.

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