Here are some of the artists we are proud to work with.
Coy Quinn was born in Cook County, Illinois and grew up in Speedway, Indiana. He currently resides in Rossville, Georgia with his wife, son, and other family. He came to H*Art Gallery through Maclellan Shelter For Families after a bad car accident caused his family some serious financial struggle. He is a self-taught painter, who learned much of his skill set from watching Bob Ross instructional videos. He loves nature and being in the outdoors, which is reflected in what he paints. He particularly enjoys creating landscapes using a wet-on-wet painting technique. He feels that painting came naturally to him, and creating art helps him to cope with any struggles that he deals with. When he isn’t creating art or working, he enjoys spending time with his family.
Cynthia Ann Barber was born in Jacksonville, Florida but has lived in Fort Oglethorpe for the last twenty years. She is coping with schizophrenia, a developmental disability, and is a cancer survivor- having been in remission since 2012. Cynthia sometimes experiences moments of depression during hard times in her life. When she begins to feel depressed she turns to art to lift herself up. She has been drawing for forty years and art is a big part of her life. For as long as she can remember she has always wanted to be an artist.
Darron R. DeSantis
Darron R. DeSantis, a two year resident of Chattanooga, is originally from Keene , New Hampshire and spent four years in Kennebunk, Maine. He received a Bachelors degree in Art Education from Plymouth State University and studied at Savannah College of Art and Design. Darron taught in public preschools and elementary schools in New England for 14 years. In 2010, after being unlawfully terminated from employment, he had to sleep in his SUV in freezing temperatures (nearly suffering frostbite three times) due to lack of space in the homeless shelters. After his SUV and all of his possessions were towed and unable to be recovered, he was homeless and jobless for the first time in his life in Maine and for one year in Tennessee. Mr. DeSantis is now a member of AIM Center and receiving treatment for bipolar disorder. He finds great solace in painting with watercolor.
David Hudson has always loved art. When he was a student at Brainerd High he won several art competitions. He was homeless when he got in a fight that left him disabled on his left side and makes it difficult for him to speak. Luckily he can “speak” through art. His drawings and paintings are articulate expressions of his unique vision.
De Michael McGee
De’ Michael McGee was born into a single home in Chattanooga in 1978 and alternated between parents. He has a history of mental health issues that were not understood in his childhood and adolescence. He served a determined sentence as an adolescent in the Department of Youth Detention; and he feels strongly about advocating for youth that end up in the juvenile justice system rather than receiving the mental health assistance they may need. De Michael was later accurately diagnosed with Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar Disorder. De Michael also struggles with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis in his hand and both knees. He has been a member of AIM Center since Friday the 13th 2013 and discovered his artistic talent in their Integrated Arts Program. De Michael strives to be a leader to at risk youth in the Chattanooga community and is determined to live his life with integrity.
Dennis Williams was born in Chattanooga, TN. where he currently resides. He is perhaps better known as “The Hat Man,” because he sports unique and whimsical hats that he changes out daily. Dennis’ story is nothing short of miraculous. He was in a very serious car accident when he was 9 years old, which left him with brain injury and nerve and growth damage to the left side of his body. He was in a twenty-eight-day coma, during which, he was resuscitated three times! After a long recovery, he received intensive rehabilitation to learn to walk and speak again. He was primarily homebound but was eventually able to finish elementary school and graduate from Brainerd High School. He had trouble with employment because of his limited mobility but was determined to persevere and even went through special vocational rehabilitation. He began to volunteer at a nursing home and after learning about his struggles Goodwill Industries sought him out for employment. He became an important spokesperson for Goodwill, doing speaking engagements and appearing in their advertisements. He is now celebrating 35 years of employment through Goodwill! He heard about H*Art Gallery through a co-worker and fellow H*Art artist. He says, “H*Art makes me see that I can do things that I didn’t know I could do…I love the way it makes me feel just coming here…”
My name is Edna Milian. I am from Puerto Rico. I’ve been in the USA since 1981 and in Chattanooga since 2010. I am a registered nurse but after 2010 became disabled and can no longer work in the medical field. I enjoy hiking, Bible study, cooking, and traveling. I find painting very relaxing and it helps me express myself through colors, forms, and shapes. My parents and I raised 3 boys from social services and I am currently responsible for 3 foster kids.
Ellen Zahorec was raised in the Catholic faith in Ohio. She received her BFA and MFA, and maintained a home, studio, and gallery. After a personal tragedy, where her home and creative spaces were lost, Ellen began to suffer from severe depression and psychosis. She is now at the AIM Center, where she uses her art to work through anxiety. Her design motifs have become a pathway to quieting depressive and racing thoughts. Every line, every dot represents one more step in Ms. Zahorec’s journey of faith and perseverance.
Erica Birch came to H*Art Gallery through Partnership for Children & Families. She is a survivor of physical abuse and emotional trauma, from a person who even tried to rob her of her creative outlets. “He took what I loved and what brought me joy and destroyed it…” However, she chooses to focus on the light within herself to move forward. Her words say it best, “Despite all that has happened, I choose not to focus on the ugly. Instead, I choose to take all that has been broken, and taken from me, and I have decided to sculpt a new soul journey. I choose to rise from the ashes. I choose to create not just new creative writing and paintings, but I am choosing to take a new path back into the healing light of my loves, and artistic passions. I choose to flourish. Thank you for supporting my journey.”