How it all began...
A Social Worker by day and an artist always at heart, Samantha noticed that meeting the basic human needs of those who came into her office for counselling services were not enough. There was also a void of a thriving arts community in comparison to its more resourced neighboring communities. Although she followed the methods of Social Work practice, she saw that when asking individuals about their creative talents or hobbies it helped to move the process along in a more enjoyable way.
She decorated her office with paintings and sculptures which always turned out to be conversation starters for those who were uncomfortable with the setup of counselling. Letting individuals express their needs through creative activities shown itself to be therapeutic for them and it eased the immediate crisis that they came seeking help for. It was also a greater working experience for her in a field that can often cause burnout when she was able to express her own creativity as an artist with the individuals.
The organization where she worked soon put her in charge of hosting and curating the culminating events for the holidays. So she started Open-Mics that were of great support and entertainment for everyone involved. This made her realize the change that she can create in her own community. Created in the Spring of 2011, Samantha found a small storefront art gallery known as ChaShaMa in her hometown Jamaica, Queens to partner her passion with and launched the first Art, Food, & Soul experience.