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Art Exhibit Portrays a Haiti of Hope and Promotes the Right to Play

by Lisa Mansell Thursday, Apr. 29, 2010 at 12:41 PM

CLEARWATER: On Friday, April 30th, starting at 6pm, international photographers Gracia Bennish and Brad Kugler will showcasing their photos of Haiti at “For the Future/For the Children: Two Views of Haiti” exhibit at System Productions in downtown Clearwater. (34N. Garden Ave).

Sponsored by Reedy Photographics of St. Petersburg, the more than 30 photos show the many facets of Haiti, from the destruction of January’s earthquake to the simple beauty of a girl carrying her brother down a forest path.

The event includes live entertainment, followed by a DJ and refreshments courtesy of Bellini Restaurant. Both artists will be on hand to answer questions about their experiences in Haiti.

The exhibit is free, but in keeping with the theme of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights Article 24, (“Everyone has the right to rest and leisure”), guests to the exhibit will have the opportunity to sponsor dolls and toy cars which will be given to the children at the Future of Haiti Orphanage.

“For a child in the United States, they would never even question the right they have to be children and to play,” says Elena Chiancianesi, one of the event’s organizers and a supporter of the orphanage. “In Haiti, there are children who are working almost from the moment that they can walk. They don’t have toys. They are lucky if they have toys.”

The orphanage was created when native of Haiti Reginald Jean, lost his two orphanages with 200 orphans prior to the earthquake, as one collapsed and the other unlivable.

To give those orphans and other children who have lost their family a home, he teamed up with a group of Church of Scientology Volunteer Ministers from Florida, Youth for Human Rights Florida, Clearwater Academy International, Washburn Academy, Delphi Academy of Florida, and International Youth Theatre.

As humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard stated, "Save the child and you save the nation".

They combined their efforts to rebuild an orphanage, with the idea of building leaders to improve the conditions of Haiti. Spearheading this collaboration was four sisters, Barbara, Doria, Elena and Michela Schneider who today are giving a home and education to 116 orphans.

“Two Views of Haiti” will be on display at System Productions until the 15th of May.

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