Friday, September 22, 2006

CECILIA ANDRE, LOCAL HERO

I met Cecilia Andre through a women's organization called The Crystal Quilt. She came to my apartment on the night that I led an evening of goal-setting for a group of Crystal Quilt women, and afterward sent me a thank you note featuring animal stickers surrounded by her own sketches. I was intrigued.

Later, Cecilia showed up when I trained a group of parents at her daughter's school to be Learning Leaders - that is, to provide one-on-one assistance to public school students who needed extra help with math, reading, and writing. Cecilia agreed to be the Lead Volunteer of Learning Leaders at the school, and proceeded to help lead one of the most dynamic and well-organized group of parent and community volunteers that the school has ever seen. Going above and beyond her weekly duties as a tutor, Cecilia organized other volunteers and school staff to turn a dumpy, depressing teacher lounge into a chic, comfortable hang-out spot via donations of paint, furniture, window treatments and her very own artwork.

Which brings me to Cecilia, the artist. Cecilia has been making art since she was a young person growing up in Brazil. Currently, she has her own studio in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There, she paints, hosts small studio classes and throws parties. She shows her work in locations around the city and is excited about the upcoming Painting is a Dinosaur. The show will run from Oct.4 to Oct.29 at Gallery Onetwentyeight. Go to 128 Rivington Street between Essex and Norfolk. Take the F Train to Delancey and you'll be on the corner of Essex, just one block away from the gallery. Hours: Wed. - Sat. 1:00 - 7:00; Sunday 1:00 - 5:00. Cecilia will be there each Sunday.

Here's what I love about Cecilia:

She so warmly invites people of all walks of life into her own life and into her family's life. As a result, Cecilia's life is rich with a diverse array of friends and her children get to grow up in an extended network of people who care about them.

As an artist, mom, and a leader, Cecilia powerfully models for her daughters and for other females that there are no limits for women. She prioritizes the well-being of her family without losing sight of her many additional interests and talents. Case in point: she has kept her identity and work as an artist front and center.

Cecilia is as busy as anyone else I know, yet leaves room in her life and her family's life for spontaneity and unstructured time. There is a sense of generosity there and a sense of playfulness in how she views and lives in time.

Thanks, Cecilia, for modeling what it means to live life fully and passionately!

To contact Cecilia about her artwork or studio classes, email: arteny@msn.com or phone: (917) 892-6705
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