The above photo is of a wonderful Easter lunch in NYC with my friends, Teresa and Carol, and also members of Carol’s family and other friends. I love Carol and her sister, Mary, so much because they are exactly the kind of people who include and embrace all friends, near and far, new and old. If you are a friend of a friend then you’re their friend by the time the day is through. This is just the way it is in their family and so I was not surprised to meet a few new faces at our Easter lunch — those of Bertrand and his two children, Rafael and Anais.
As we all got to talking I learned that Bertrand is from France and has lived in Buffalo, NY for many years. Rafael is 13 years old, in 7th grade, which he says, “isn’t too bad!” And Anais is just a lovely girl who is wide eyed and curious and I suspect, very smart.
I learned, also, that Bertrand, Rafael and Anais also lost their beloved wife and mother, Kate Ross, only a few months ago. She is greatly missed and her absence was felt around the table as we spoke about her life and her passion.
Kate was a gifted artist and teacher. She worked in the Buffalo school system for many years, gave private lessons, and even set up a summer art camp in her home for the local children. She believed that art should be accessible to all and was determined to provide access to those who could least afford it.
Like my hometown of Flint, Michigan, Buffalo NY is an industrial city that has suffered from economic hardship when industry left. Bring Art Buffalo was established to provide art supplies to disadvantaged students in the Buffalo school system. Schools located in poor communities are GROSSLY underfunded and the arts are slashed to the core.
Kate’s family is supporting the efforts of Bring Art Buffalo and I promised Bertrand and Kate’s best friend, Erika, that I would write of this organisation and of Kate. I didn’t know her but I’m certain she is someone who I would have instantly liked and I want to support this cause and spread the word.
You can go here to donate.