Following is a candid BRO interview with photographer Cheryl Gorski who, in just two weeks time, has organized a compassionate event meant to open our eyes to the pains and struggles of orphans within our community. I must admit that in this case, out of sight can tragically mean out of mind. During this holiday season we should all give thanks for our families and our homes. We should also spread the good word that Cheryl has captured through heart and camera. This is a real eye opener into the lives of the 850 children who live at Gateway Longview, along with many others who live without families and homes right here in Buffalo, NY.
BRO: How did you come to think of Break The Silence?
CG: Depeche Mode
BRO: Are you aware of similar efforts in this community or others?
CG: Heart gallery and other adoption agencies use photographers to help get the children adopted
BRO: In this day and age, when you hear about families who look to other countries for adoption, why do we not look in our own backyard?
CG: I think people are impatient to go through the process here to be a foster parent than being able to adopt abroad
BRO: Is there any sort of stigma attached to a child with a history so close to home?
CG: Not sure mentally why some go to other countries than right here in our backyard. I think they assume maybe a child from over seas is better behaved?
BRO: When did you start working on the project?
CG: After I lost my baby in ’06 they asked me to take photos for the Heart Gallery, then Kathy Swenson asked me to come to Gateway Longview. I donated a photo shoot for their fundraiser. When I went through the facility on Main Street across from ECC… I left in tears. I felt really bad for them. I also take photos for Children Awaiting Parents in Rochester – another foster care agency (the children are at the last of the line due to being older). I feel this is even more heart breaking. No holidays, dinners, birthdays.
BRO: Impressive list of artists – how did you get so many people to donate to one cause?
CG: I asked my friends who are artists. I’m still open for a few more. I’m going to need tables and easels desperately. Arts Council has donated 20 for me to use. The Vault has a few and Steve Phillips has 2. I can’t absorb costs – if I use Sheas’ tables and skirts it’s going to cost me. Tony gave me the lobby for a great price. Matthew Clark Dance Academy offered to pay the fee since I did some free photos for him. I need money for the security, and money for the insurance. I’m going to need help. I wish I had a dessert and coffee person. I asked one place but they never got back to me.
BRO: So what’s the process? How do the attendees of the event learn about the children? Through photos? How does the process unfold?
CG: At this event I’m going to ask Kara who does the classes to briefly explain the process. I’ve spoken to a couple who’s wedding I did, and they actually went through the process. They are going to speak about it at the event.
BRO: Will this be an annual event?
CG: I hope it’ll be an annual event. I’m just stirring the pot. I’m not famous enough to really get the magnitude. I hope we all stick together and do it. It’s a great time to see all your friends since the holidays are so crazy. Helping the kids is cool. It’s the mystery if your art will sell and who will buy it. I’m hoping that I can encourage people to teach the kids a trade or skill acting, dance, carpentry, auto repair, so much to learn… if adoption is out maybe just being involved this way can be a rewarding effort. I’d like to see if they can get new beds, sheets, pillows, and basketball court outside, some computers. There is one guy who teaches the kids horticulture.
BRO: How many orphanages are in Western New York? How many children does that amount to?
CG: There are several locations of agencies. Gateway has two, the newborns are located on Niagara Street – older kids on Main across from ECC. Father Baker has mostly pregnant teens, I just recently photographed a 15 yr old and her baby that are up for adoption as a team. It’s really sad. My stepbrother is adopted. I thought, “How hard is this going to be for me after losing a baby?” I had to take deep breaths at times and long exhales.
It’s not that hard to give $5.00 or a bottle of shampoo or deodorant or toothpaste. They informed me that they are in desperate need of money. 30 jobs cut. I asked God what am I going to do? I photographed Lisa Grisanti for Sheas’. I told her I was having a problem with a location. She said she’d talk to Tony Conti. I told her that he used to be a photographer in college. I took his portrait for my mother’s paper – could she please ask him? That is how I got the Shea’s lobby! So I’ve been going crazy trying to get this together. I can’t believe I pulled this off in 2 weeks – getting all the entertainment and artists, graphics, writers… I’m about to have a heart attack! I must be insane to do this during the stress of Xmas photos and shopping.
I need help passing this around to get the word out – especially to the media. Rich Lee said he’d do the video, I hope maybe The News will come. I’m going to need help getting the art set up in 3 hours. I don’t want to turn artists away. I have the upstairs too… thanks to everyone who has helped pull this together.
Details of the event:
For too long the 850 children at Gateway Longview have been
silent because for children without families, or children who have
suffered abuse do not have a voice. But, on January 9, 2010 at 7 p.m.,
these children will be heard loud and clear through the fundraising
efforts of 37 prominent local and emerging artists to “Break the
Silence”. Shea’s Buffalo Theatre, Buffalo, NY will be the site of this
most auspicious occasion.
will feature music and entertainment by Joseph Michael Mahfoud, Emile
Latimer, Sabu Adeyola, Sechaba Molefe, Dr. B. Andrew Lane & The
Destiny Covenant Christian Center Worship Team, Roszella Davis, The
Clark Academy Dancers, Jimmy Digrook Hawkins and O’Connell And Company
Food will be provided by the Lafayette Tap Room, Gormet Sorbet, and a cash bar by the Shea’s Buffalo Performing Arts Center.
9pm the live auction will begin, with auctioneer Steve Phillips of The
Lodge Auction House calling for bids on the art. $15.00 admission 7 PM
– 11 P. Sponsorships are available. Sponsors can call: 716 903 0600 and
ask for Cheryl. All auction proceeds to benefit the children of Gateway
Longview, a child and family service organization.
Artists Breaking the Silence:
Guitar Artist HUGO
Matthew John Pasquarella
For More Information Contact: Teresa Reile 716 997 9069
Gorski: 716 903-0600 : OBVIOUSLY we are going to have a FUN party,
looking forward to seeing you all . Attire should be fun dress up, a
tad over casual. I ask you all to PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO ALL YOUR
FRIENDS AND CLIENTS! I NEED YOUR HELP IN SPREADING THE WORD!