Through its competitive Health Equity and Arts (HEArts) grantmaking process, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (RMHF)
works with non-profit organizations and artists to use various forms of art and creative expression to engage community
residents. HEArts projects are intended to lift up community voice and perspective to foster creative solutions
for achieving health and/or housing equity.
In 2019, Family Lifeline was partially funded by a grant from RMHF for Stretching My Hands Out, a collaboration
among Family Lifeline and artists Gigi Amateau and Penelope Carrington.
Our work focuses on direct care providers: certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and personal care aides (PCA)s. Care providers'
life stories transect life stories of children, families, friends, and neighbors. In the U.S., we entreat women, particularly women of
color, to care for those dearest to us, as well as those with no one to turn to. Women comprise 94% of direct care providers in
Virginia - a sector that is growing but lacking fair wages and respect. With artistic emphasis on photography, storytelling,
poetry, and writing, Stretching My Hands Out shows unfair patterns of resource distribution (wages, transportation,
child care, health care) revealing the aspirations, strengths, and resilience of a workforce of women at the
intersection of health disparities, trauma, racism, caregiving, strength, and resilience.
For 143 years, Family Life is an organization inspired by the work of our founders. Our service philosophy is to partner with individuals and families in their homes and communities teaching, nurturing and supporting them in impactful and lasting ways. We believe that engaging families in a familiar place — a place where they experience their daily successes and challenges — maximizes the development of a true, caring, reciprocal relationship.
Our programming for older adults, persons with disabilities and their caregivers strives to help individuals remain living well in community settings of their choosing where they feel safe, connected, healthy and engaged. To accomplish this work, we utilize programming that works with two generations at a time to ensure wellness, healthy aging and caregiver support. Our comprehensive Long Term Support Services are person-centered, trauma informed and focused on an individuals’ resilience and strength.
For more than a decade, we have collaborated to create art that expresses joy and celebrates inclusivity. Working together in mixed media that has included film, photography, and narrative, we begin our projects by staying open and holding
space for the story, be it the simple, the profound, or uncomfortable. We greet
each project with possibility, freedom, and a plan. Yes, we always have a plan
that we know will be infused with and shaped by the creative process -
a process that delights in disruption in order to drive change.
We each make things all the time – novels, photographs, films, gardens, teddy
bears, short stories, meals, zines, kind children. Our joint artistic endeavors are fueled by a high level of trust, a constant willingness to listen, and a cultivated habit of
circling and shifting together, until the thing arises, confident and strong in its
own reflection. Both of us are well-educated and self-taught. Over the course
of our respective lives we have been caregivers for our elders and single
mothers to our children – roles that generate creativity. As a result, with
whomever else we are working, we know there is powerful creativity
crouched and waiting in every participant, because art
is not separate from life.