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Friday, June 21, 2013

Children’s Trust Miami Heart Gallery photo shoot

Coconut Grove is serving as a backdrop for the next photo shoot of The Children’s Trust Miami Heart Gallery on Monday, June 24. 

The Heart Gallery is a web-based exhibit featuring children that are available for adoption from Miami-Dade’s foster care system. A few years back, you may remember that the Windisch-Hunt Gallery featured the exhibit a few times. This is one photo shoot at the Windisch-Hunt Gallery in 2008.

So on Monday, between 9 am and 4 pm, a team of award winning, professional photographers will shoot at least 25 portraits. Numerous makeup artists and hairstylists donate their time and talent; and video crews record interviews with each child for posting online along with their written bio and photograph at www.miamiheartgallery.org.

The production on Monday will be headquartered at the offices of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival at the Mayfair Atrium (by the Bull sculpture) and in adjacent, vacant retail space donated by Mayfair Shops. The photo shoots will take place in and around Coconut Grove including Dinner Key Marina, CocoWalk, Green Street Café, Peacock Garden Café, Monty’s Raw Bar, MayFair Hotel in the Grove, Mayfair Shops, Barnacle Historical State Park, Sonesta BayFront Hotel and The Kampong National Tropical Botanical Garden, among others. The production coincides with a rebranding of the initiative around artwork created by Maria Reyes Jones, a previous Coconut Grove Arts Festival poster artist.  

“Few people remember that back in the 1950s Coconut Grove was a thriving haven for artists, so it’s wonderful to see Coconut Grove at the epicenter of a fusion of fine art, photography, and contemporary web design for a purpose today that is significantly more meaningful than just art for art’s sake,” said Monty Trainer, President of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

The Children’s Trust Miami Heart Gallery is a partnership between The Children’s Trust and Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc., the local lead agency for child welfare in Miami and the Keys. According to the state of Florida, more than 1,500 foster children are eligible for adoption in Florida and approximately 150 of them live in Miami-Dade. These children have been removed from their biological parents for reasons of neglect or abuse with no possibility of family reunification. Approximately half of the children who have been featured in The Children’s Trust Miami Heart Gallery since 2009 have either been adopted or are in the process of being adopted.

“It’s wonderful to see how many children have found forever families because of The Miami Heart Gallery,” said Charles Auslander, Interim President and CEO of The Children’s Trust. “Foster care is meant to be temporary, but oftentimes circumstances extend it to much longer than it should, so for these children, loving, permanent homes are exactly what they need to thrive and feel secure.”

The Children’s Trust Miami Heart Gallery is modeled after the first Heart Gallery that launched in 2001 in New Mexico at the suggestion of a Santa Fe photographer and adoptive mother. The Children’s Trust Miami Heart Gallery can be seen at www.miamiheartgallery.org. The new portraits will be uploaded by late summer. Anyone interested in learning more about adopting a foster child should call Our Kids at 305-455-2563 or email nortonf@ourkids.us.

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