Images of hope
CHANGING THE WORLD COSTCO MEMBERS DOING THEIR PART TO HELP MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.
social media, Hastings began receiving
o;ers of donated clothes, as well as donations that go to buying the food. Through
these efforts, Hastings has been able to
make good on her lifelong desire to give
back to those less fortunate. “
Homelessness is so nuanced,” she says. “But one thing
they all have in common is the need to be
heard and to feel important.”—Paul Gaita
Skid Row ( instagram.com/soulfry;lms). “I
allow the subjects to ;nd me,” she says
about her portraiture. “I see a glimmer in
their eyes, and go from there.”
Hastings says that the photos do more
than create a bond with her subjects. “What
I hope our audience sees is the same heart
as theirs,” she explains. “That in what may
be conventionally called ‘ugly’—missing
teeth, scars, visible illness—they will see
something truly beautiful.”
The photographs have also helped to
spread the word about Mama D’s mission.
After six months of posting her images on
Mama D Feeds the Homeless (facebook.
com/mamadfeedsthehomeless), a grass-
roots organization that has spent every
weekend for the past ;; years distributing
food, clothes and support to those living in
the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.
Hastings also found a way to create
what she calls a “bridge between two
worlds” by taking photographs of the individuals she meets when Mama D sets up on After six months of posting her images on
Nico Brett. Inset: a decorated piano.
JASON BRETT; © PAVEL K/SHUTTERSTOCK
NICO BRETT began playing piano at age ;, and from the beginning
it was evident that he was a concert pianist in the making. His
teacher asked him to promise to practice “every day he ate.” Nico,
the son of Costco members Kelly and Jason Brett of Atlanta, took
the promise to heart.
By the time the family traveled to Europe in ;;;;, he had practiced ;;; consecutive days, and despite their travels they didn’t
want to break his streak. “While we were in London and Paris, we
discovered that an artist had coordinated a temporary art installation of public pianos,” says Jason Brett, “so Nico got to continue.
“Watching the joy the pianos brought onlookers and musicians
alike fueled our desire to bring pianos to public places around
Atlanta,” he continues. “But we wanted to go a step further and
make them permanent art installations, too. Our goal is to place
;; pianos, the number of keys on a piano.”
The Chastain Park Conservancy o;ered a location in a pavilion
at the popular park in ;;;;, and Play Me Again Pianos (playme
againpianos.org), a ;;;(c)(;) organization, was o; and running.
“Since garnering media attention, we’ve been able to place Play
Me Again Pianos at covered locations outdoors [around Atlanta],”
The charity rents a truck and moves the pianos from their
original home to a warehouse, then to an artist’s home, where they
are decorated, and finally to the piano’s permanent location.
So far, they have donated ;;
pianos. Nico, now ;;, plays the
first pieces on the pianos, then
turns them over to onlookers.
The organization’s wish list
includes a space large enough to house a dozen pianos and room
for artists to work, and donations to cover the cost of piano tuners
and upkeep.—Mickey Goodman
Click here to watch Mama D volunteers
distribute food. (See page 10 for details.)
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here to see Nico
Brett perform. (See page