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.

March 2017 ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Shemara
Age 20


ArtWorks is excited to kick off Child Life Month with a very special Young Artist Highlight, Shemara!

Shemara age 20, connected with ArtWorks through The Child Life Staff at Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson New Jersey. Art has had an incredible impact on Shemara’s life and we are humbled that ArtWorks can share her story! Read our interview with Shemara to learn more about her passion and beautiful insight on the creative arts!

What are the tough issues you have faced?

I was diagnosed with Lupus Nephritis at age 11. I had meningitis one year ago and had to rehabilitate from that for one year. (Lupus nephritis is an inflammation of the kidney that is caused by lupus, an autoimmune disease).

What inspires and influences your artwork?

The idea of dreams. Sometimes I find myself focused on expressing my art through Walt Disney’s representation of curiosity, imagination, dreams and through his own creations. Most of my artwork represents the belief that… “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”.

What can you tell us about the piece(s) you made? What materials did you use? Where did you get your ideas from? What is your favorite part?

Each one of my art pieces seems impossible to do in the beginning. I seem to have conflicting ideas in my head and somehow I put them together to see what happens. I’m always mesmerized at the outcome no matter how small the accomplishment. Most of the materials I use are pretty basic and cheap. Just because it is more satisfying to create beauty using what you have. I have used materials like pencils, colored pencils, sharpies, crayons, acrylic paint, fabric paint and spray paint. Finding cheap and inexpensive materials to make amazing designs and fascinating art is my inspiration. It’s why I create art that is fun, and having fun while making art is all the more satisfying. It’s an outlet I use to deal with my condition. It allows me to find a positive way to express myself and feel as though my life does have meaning even through tough times.

Tell us a story from your life you would like to share with the world. Share some words that you would like to pass onto ArtWorks and all the children and young adults of the ArtWorks community?

There have been many countless stressful moments in my life, but the time that touches me the most is when I forgot how to do everything. When I forgot myself. Learning all over again to be me has given me the ability to appreciate who I am and embrace what I can do. I know now that nothing is impossible. There is absolutely nothing in this world, which your heart loves, that you cannot accomplish. Your circumstances and trials of pain can only make you stronger. “A dream is a wish your heart makes!”

“Working with Shemara has been a privilege for each of us. Her presence is inspiring and like a ray of sunshine. Her art is captivating. She is so humble and sincere. We are so excited that she gets to share her artwork with the ArtWorks community. Meeting her makes people believe that anything you wish to accomplish can be possible. She is an amazing person and talent!”

– The Child Life staff at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Paterson, NJ