“I love the collaborative
experience,” says Bernie
Massey. “We work with
every demographic, culture,
religion, geographic region,
wealth or lack thereof.”
Accessibility is also
paramount. Portraits of Hope
o;ers disabled participants
specially designed paint-
brushes to control with their
Telescoping handles or
brushes attached to hockey
sticks allow volunteers
in wheelchairs to paint
Braille elements incorporated into the black outlines
help guide the blind.
And paintbrushes adapted
to be attached to shoes
provide more options to
“We never turn anyone
away,” Massey says.
Individuals who are interested in volunteering for an
event, or schools, after-school
programs, hospitals and community institutions that would
like to sign up to participate
in a POH project, can go to
portraitso; ope.org and click
than ;; percent of our participants are
While they may seem simple, the
copyrighted designs vary from project
to project. “We also use a lot of geomet-
ric shapes, like rectangles, squares and
circles, because kids shape the future,”
Painting is only part of the puzzle.
Projects incorporate educational sessions to explore relevant themes. Bernie
leads volunteers through workshops
exploring social issues affecting their
lives, including the environment, pluralism and other topics tied to each installation. “The educational programming
we do in schools makes the world
relevant,” he says.
“There’s nothing better than working
with your brother to help achieve these
goals,” says Ed, a painter and sculptor
and author of two children’s books.
The project grew after Ed read the
first of his two titles to children at a hospital. He thought of creating ways young
patients could be part of something
more engaging, beyond the confines
of a hospital.
The Masseys’ greatest hits include
Emphasis on the world
decorating ;,;;; Manhattan taxicabs
in ;;;; and recruiting ;;,;;; people
to adorn ;;; lifeguard towers spanning
;; continuous miles of the Southern
California coastline in ;;;;. Last year,
at Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park lake,
fields, they floated ;,;;; vinyl spheres.
After an installation, the art takes
on new life. Based in Redondo Beach,
California, POH donates ;; percent of
its pieces to beautify social service institutions in places as far-flung as Kenya
and South Korea. Charities usually auction off the remainder.
“We want to keep adding color
across the globe, and by doing so we
work with kids everywhere,” says Bernie.
“Portraits of Hope is a way to shrink
our world. We are all connected, and
we need to remember that. Our projects
are a visual symbol of what can be done
when we all cooperate.”
Lisa Alcalay Klug is a regular contributor to
the Costco Connection.
A patient contributes to a Portraits of
Hope hospital project in Mexico City.
Click to view the
MacArthur Park lake
sphere project. (See
page 11 for details.)
animal care center.