How it all began...

While working in the early stages of her career as a Social Worker in her Queens neighborhood, Samantha noticed that meeting the basic human needs of those who came into her office for services was not enough as well as a void of a thriving arts community in comparison to its neighboring boroughs. Although she followed the methods of her Social Work practice and the organization in which she worked, she saw that when asking individuals about their talent or artistic skills, it helped to move the process along.

 

She decorated her office with visual art which always turned out to be a conversation starter for those who were uncomfortable with the set up of counseling. Letting individuals express their needs through poetry, music, dance, or drawings was therapeutic for them and it eased the immediate crisis that they came seeking help for by showing them the power they have over their problems. It was also a greater working experience for her in a field that can experience burnout too often when she expressed her creativity as an artist with the individuals. The bond between her and the individuals became strong in a short space of time and needs were quickly met bringing her large caseloads down. She noticed changes were happening.

 

When her Directors took notice of her progress, Samantha was put in charge of hosting and curating the culminating events for the holidays. She created Open Mics that became of great support for the individuals. This made her realize what she was capable of doing in her own neighborhood.

 

Samantha began organizing multidisciplinary art events called Art, Food, & Soul in Queens, New York in the Spring of 2011. As a creative, she always found herself performing in venues and engaging in social networks outside of her borough and wished to see arts and cultural entertainment options that were closer to home for all types of artists. Combining her passions of helping people, serving her community, and art together, proved to her that she can be a creative change agent and fill the voids with something as powerful as the artistic expression. AFS took a break for a while in 2015 but will be returning in 2018 with all new creative experiences. The initial experiences have fostered her motto “Where all things art feed the soul”.

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