Christmas In June

In this season of good will and charity, we would be remiss if we did not share a story of great generosity that occurred in the ASV program this year. In fact, you might say that Christmas came in June, because of a tremendous act of kindness towards the artists in the 2012 ASV Exhibition.

Hundreds of art enthusiasts from all over Chicago came to the ASV photo exhibit on June 22nd, and one was especially inspired. Maril Gagen MacDonald, founder and CEO of Gagen MacDonald communication consultants (gagenmacdonald.com), strolled through the gallery and was deeply moved by how striking and beautiful the photography artwork was. She recalls, “I spoke with many of the artists at the exhibition and thought to myself, ‘How articulate and full of possibility each one of these artists is!’ This program is a beautiful example of human possibility.”

Ms. Gagen MacDonald was so impressed that she bought one print (at $100 apiece) from each of the fifty-seven artists in the show.

When asked why she decided to extend herself so charitably, Ms. Gagen MacDonald says, “I simply had a real desire to affirm what each of the artists was doing. I wanted to honor each person who had put himself or herself out there.” She continues, “What impressed me most was the fact that something as simple as a disposable camera inspired so much creativity in someone. The photos I saw at this exhibit were quite comparable to anything I see in other galleries around the city.”

Ms. Gagen MacDonald was especially affected by one of the conversations she had. “In one case,” she remembers, “I spoke with an artist who took a picture of geese near a pond. He told me a remarkable story about the photo. He said he was in a complete state of despair…he was just staring at the geese…and he remembered he had the (ASV) camera in his pocket. He said to me, ‘Snapping that photo snapped me back into life; snapping that photo made me intentional and with purpose about the rest of the photos that I took.’”

“When you think about it,” Ms. Gagen MacDonald explains, “the After Supper Visions program is really a metaphor for our own lives; we each have the power to do something meaningful every single day. We just have to choose to see it that way. The artists have trained their lenses around what is good or thought-provoking…they have put a shine on what is good in the world and their photos inspire us to do the same.”

Maril and Katie 005

Maril Gagen MacDonald, with Catholic Charities Project Director Katie Tuten

Catholic Charities and everyone associated with ASV is profoundly grateful to Ms. Gagen MacDonald, for her extraordinary support of the artists and this program.

If you are considering making end-of-the-year donations to worthy endeavors, please consider the “After Supper Visions” program. A great deal of progress has been made over the past ten years, but for many ASV photographers, managing the most basic aspects of everyday life continues to be an enormous challenge. Donations can be sent to Kathy Donahue, Catholic Charities, 721 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60654, or contact Kathy at kdonahue@catholiccharities.net. Checks should be made out to Catholic Charities. Thank you very much.

The ASV Year In Review, coming Monday.

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