About the Heart Gallery of New Mexico
About Heart Gallery image
The History of the Heart Gallery of New Mexico
On March 29, 2001, at the suggestion of Santa Fe photographer and adoptive mother Cathy Maier Callanan, the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department brought the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words" to life at the nation’s first Heart Gallery exhibit. The reception at Santa Fe’s Gerald Peters Gallery drew a crowd of people inspired by stirring portraits of children in CYFD custody who were dreaming of finding their "forever families." The portraits were created and donated by some of the region’s most talented photographers.
Since then, the annual Heart Gallery of New Mexico has found homes for many children who were considered "hard to place" due to their age or the fact that they were members of a sibling group. One of the happiest endings came in June 2005, when a very special portrait inspired one couple to adopt five teenaged siblings. Two photographers even "clicked with" and adopted their charming subjects.
Thanks to media coverage and technical support from CYFD, the Heart Gallery spread to several other states. In January 2005, a Parade article about the project by Santa Fe reporter Rosemary Zibart touched the hearts of millions of readers, resulting in a virtual explosion of Heart Gallery groups across America, where 118,000 foster children are waiting to be adopted. Later coverage included People, the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, USA Weekend, the New York Times, ABC World News Tonight and 20/20.
Currently 42 states have held or are planning Heart Gallery openings, and the number of Heart Gallery-inspired placements in the end should number in the thousands. CYFD continues to be the conduit for the positive energy of these dedicated planners. The federal Children’s Bureau has been a strong supporter of the project, and has named the Heart Gallery a "best practice." On November 1, 2005, they hosted the first National Heart Gallery exhibit at Union Station in Washington, D.C. Please visit www.heartgalleryofamerica.org for more information on The Heart Gallery as a national movement.