I do quite a bit of event and political coverage but rarely have the opportunity to share. I thought I’d change that, and blog about a recent job I shot for the US Embassy, Santiago
Last month, Second Lady Karen Pence came to visit Santiago and I was hired to be the Photographer for her team in Chile. Her official initiative is Art Therapy – and, as someone with a B.A. in Art History, it’s a cause I could personally get behind.
I wasn’t aware, but Mrs. Pence was an Art Teacher for about 25 years before becoming First Lady of Indiana in 2013. To use her influence to help the disabled and disadvantaged is admirable, and to do it through such an emerging field as Art Therapy is remarkable.
Our first stop of the day was Teleton HQ in Santiago. If you’ve never heard of Teleton, it usually refers to the annual 27-hour TV program to raise money for children with disabilities, run by Chilean TV icon Don Francisco. The headquarters houses a full rehabilitation and art therapy center.
Mrs. Pence spent her morning working with the children in the program, discussing how the program has benefited their lives. She was greeted by some of the sweetest kids I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. They were all wonderful artists and very welcoming of the opportunity to share their work with the Second Lady.
Teleton begins and ends their sessions with a chalkboard exercise, where the participants draw their emotions. Mrs. Pence was invited to do the same. The pink heart with happy face is her emotion-drawing.
One of the participants, Javi, presented Mrs. Pence with a beautiful painting of the Chilean countryside filled with animals. When she received the gift, she told Javi she would be hanging it in her office in the White House. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when the enormity of the statement hit – this young artist from a small town in Chile would have her work displayed in the White House.
After a brief (and delicious!) lunch at Organiko in Vitacura, Mrs. Pence met with a roundtable of Art Therapists from Chile at Espacio Crea. Unbeknownst to many, Chile is a pioneer in the field of Art Therapy, and has been making significant advancements in using A.T. for rehabilitation.
This is the second time I’ve provided services for Washington in an official capacity. Last time was in 2010, when I had the honor of accompanying Dr. Jill Biden for her birthday in Tivoli (Rome). Following, I photographed her and the Vice President on at Villa Taverna (the Ambassador’s residence) and at Air Force Two. Very exciting!
Both Second Ladies were an absolute pleasure to work for! They were both so personable and friendly.
Proud to serve the Embassy in any way I can.