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Making a Difference Through the Arts by Kara M. Cerilli

“Always make a difference.” A lifelong lesson from my family inspires my photography every day. I have enjoyed taking photographs ever since my parents bought me my first camera when I was about ten years old. As an adult, I still find tremendous joy in taking photographs, especially of the Hudson Valley, which is rich with stunning landscapes, beautiful flowers, and inquisitive animals.

Kara Cerilli with Service PuppyThe photography projects I find the most gratifying are those that support beneficial causes. For example, I have been a photographer for an animal rescue group for nine years. The organization posts my pictures on its Facebook page and website to help cats and kittens find forever homes. It is always wonderful to hear that a cat or kitten has been adopted, and that my pictures assisted in that process. Recently, I also took pictures at a walk-a-thon to raise money for autism service dogs. Using my creativity to help local agencies is a great way for me to have fun, practice new techniques, and make a difference in the community. Likewise, the charities are always appreciative of my images, which capture their important work.

I also like entering my artwork in local shows and contests. Last fall my photograph, “Vineyard,” was the Millbrook Vineyards and Winery’s Art in the Loft wine label competition winner. Art in the Loft is collaboration between the Millbrook Winery and Arts Mid-Hudson. A committee selects twelve pieces of artwork to be displayed at the winery from June until November. During that time, the public votes for its favorite pieces. I was excited when I learned that I was the winner. It is nice to know that others appreciate your artwork, and that they would even take the time to cast a vote for it. In addition, the staff at the winery were incredibly welcoming, and the experience was a great way to meet other artists and art enthusiasts.

Park in Poughkeepsie with Hot Air BalloonThere are excellent art organizations in our area that connect artists with unique opportunities to display their work in public. It is always a delight to see my work on display aside other local artists. Other shows I have participated in include: the Roost Studios’ Rising Artists Show, the Barrett Art Center and Tivoli Artist Gallery’s Changing Spaces – An Artistic Exchange, the Barrett Art Center’s Juried Members’ Show, the Arts Mid-Hudson’s Holiday Pop-Up Shop, and the Town of LaGrange’s Emerging Artists Showcase. I am glad to live in a community with so many galleries, awards, and events for artists.

I hope that my artwork inspires others to focus on their favorite things, and of course, encourages them to make a difference!

About the Artist:
Kara is a lifelong resident of Dutchess County and holds a master’s degree in psychology from Marist College. In her free time, she enjoys writing, painting, and photography. You can view more of her photographs at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

About the column:

Arts Mid-Hudson has served up fresh arts and culture across the region for over 54 years. This biweekly series of columns showcases arts, artists’ work and arts events across the region presented with the support of Arts Mid-Hudson. For information about its services, events and grant opportunities visit www.artsmidhudson.org, call 845-454-3222 or email [email protected].