Here are some of the artists we are proud to work with.
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.
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.”
George Monds was born and raised in Chattanooga. He first became interested in drawing after he saw a portrait his mother drew of his grandmother. George is a recovering alcoholic and has been homeless on and off for the past 23 years. He takes it one day at a time and has begun putting some structure back into his life with the help of his art. To that end, George has been able to move into low-income housing. George hopes that selling his artwork will help him reach his goal of becoming self-sufficient one day.
George a Vietnam Vet, MSMC 1965-1968, was born and raised in Memphis. "My very first big trip away from home placed me in Vietnam. I was shot in the right hand and left elbow. Ia am a prostate cancer survivor and live with PTSD everyday. Even with my disabilities I never forget each day is a gift and a Blessing that I will not misuse. I first became interested in painting after attending an art therapy class at the VA. Art is now a part of my support system, thanks to the VA."
“I was in the Air Force security forces for two years. I was released from duty based on a personality disorder. Having social anxiety and depression Art Therapy has helped me express my feelings with the use of a paintbrush. Painting with a group of other veterans has helped me push back my social anxiety while in therapy with other people that share my same ambitions.”
Haint is a well-known folk artist who creates intricate designs using a variety of media. Though he now lives in the Pacific Northwest, Haint was born in Red Bank, grew up in Los Angeles, and spent nearly 20 years of his adult life in Lafayette, Georgia working as a truck driver before the success of his art career. Haint shares that he has always felt a "compulsion to make art" and before leaving the Chattanooga area for the Pacific Northwest he donated many of his early works to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen. His hope was that his art could, one day, help Chattanooga's homeless community.
In July 2014, the executive director of the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, Jens Christian, contacted Ellen Heavilon, H*Art Gallery's founder and executive director, about a collection of paintings that had been found in the basement of the Community Kitchen. Though these paintings had been forgotten for a number of years, Ellen was suprised and delighted to recognize it as the work of Haint, who had, during the time his art was stored at the Kitchen, received acclaim for his work.
Ellen was eventually able to reach Haint about the collection and he gave his permission for H*Art Gallery to exhibit and sale his work - with the proceeds to be shared between the H*Art Gallery and the Community Kitchen. He also provided information about the art and set the prices of each piece.