Team Member Spotlight: Art Advisor - Carol Berman

Name: Carol Berman

Originally From:  Gadsden, Alabama

Resides: Bethesda, Maryland

With YAFH Since:  I have been a partner since 2012 and an art advisor since 2013

How long have you been painting?  I have been drawing for 29 years and painting for 27 years.

What first drew you to pickup a paintbrush?  I was 34 years old and my Mom had passed away at 66 years old.  I had three young children and I was looking for something that would be focused and meditative, peaceful and creative.  I knew I was good with colors but I had never really drawn before.  I wanted what I did to be something new that I had never done to help in my healing process.  I really wanted to paint people.

What inspires you to paint today?  I love to paint!  I usually paint people I love in nature scenes or just nature scenes.  I love God’s creations.  I need to paint like I need to breathe.  It nourishes my soul and my creative spirit.

What do you look for when guiding students with their artwork?   I try to stay true to their creative spirit but help them refine their composition, learn how to create dimension with color hues and values and stretch their visual knowledge with photo references for more accurate drawings and details.

What initially got you interested in YAFH?  I met Jan Papirmeister at a fundraiser for the Aquilino Cancer Center.  She is our incredible Executive Director.  A couple years later, she approached me to get involved with YAFH as it was just beginning.  I couldn’t at the time but I was happy to fund the first YAFH project for Holy Cross Hospital.  After seeing how hard she worked and what amazing talent we have in our schools and how grateful the viewers and how healing for patients, I was hooked.  

How does a student involved with a YAFH program look at a canvas differently than your typical artist?  Some of our students are new to painting and some of them have never painted on large canvases.  This can be daunting at first seeing that LARGE, WHITE CANVAS.   They know they must paint a painting that the content and colors must be healing in nature and fulfill the specified requests presented in the project list of the hospital.

They approach their work with empathy for the patients, loved ones and hospital staff who will be viewing their artworks.  They also, have a sense of giving of themselves to others as they delve into their creative talents.

What’s the most rewarding part about being involved with YAFH?  This work is so comprehensive that it’s impossible to say “the most” rewarding part.  These are the most rewarding aspects:  Working with Jan, meeting with hospitals and staff to encourage them to have YAFH artworks in their location, decide themes, content and sizes for each area where artwork will go, meet teachers and students, critique art students’ sketches and paintings, set up and host our Annual Art Show of our students’ works of art, design publications, fundraise….the list goes on and on how rewarding.  I have met so many wonderful students, one who couldn’t put down his paintbrush knowing that people in wheelchairs would have his paintings in their rooms.  This student painted ten paintings for us.  Another student feeling quite depressed only came to school to paint his painting for us.  Fortunately, his principal allowed this to happen.  The stories of how much better people feel when they can view the artworks, how motivating to walk the halls or wait patiently in a waiting room.  How nurses miss the paintings when we have to borrow them for a special show.  My heart and spirit is more full because of YAFH and yours will be too if you participate and or give so we can carry out our very meaningful mission.