Throughout the year, the ArtWorks community meets a Young Artist from one of our programs who has used the creative and performing arts to help them cope with their illness.

Age 23


“The best thing about art is that it never leaves you. On the days I couldn’t pick up a paintbrush, I could still hum a song.” -Sam

ArtWorks is privileged to be able to watch so many of our Young Artists grow into amazing young women and men. Sam has been with ArtWorks since her first Express Yourself event in 2003, and is now supporting our mission, providing arts programming to children facing chronic and life limiting illness, through her own jewelry fundraiser. Here is her journey through the arts!

Sam first began treatment at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in 2001 when she was only six years old.

“I faced many challenges with my illness like not being able or allowed to play with other kids I went to school with. They would run around and I would stay sitting far away on the side lines. My treatments made the kids and even adults around me confused. I didn’t look sick, but they knew I was so not like the rest. It scared them. I was quickly left with the feeling of being alone. With all that alone time, I turned to art early on. I always had something to distract myself
with when I was upset”

Pictured: Sam, at age 13, performing “Candle on the Water” from the movie Pete’s Dragon at Express Yourself in 2008!

As an adult, Sam occasionally struggles with parts of her illness. 

“It’s nothing serious anymore, but it’s there. I now feel lucky (weirdly enough) that I have these experiences to draw from. My art is better for it. I have a deeper understanding of what it can do for people and how magical it is to share it with one another. Art let me hold onto positivity when I could have easily lost it. I want that comfort for others. It’s such a strength and I think everyone deserves to explore that. Your mind and your art has a power that is capable of achieving things far beyond you.” 

“Art gives you a way to express and process emotions. Even if there’s no one listening, there are still colors and shapes to listen and react to you in the way that you need.” -Sam

Now at 23 years-old, Sam is giving back to ArtWorks by selling beautiful earrings that she created by hand. She will be donating a portion of the proceeds to ArtWorks!


“This is a piece of my creativity. This is a part of my past, present, and future.”
– Sam

To view all of Sam’s earrings for sale, visit her on her Instagram page !

Thank you, Sam, for sharing your beautiful and unique creations and for giving back to the ArtWorks community!