By Ashley Ford | firstname.lastname@example.org
A collage of over 50 hearts is handpainted on a five-foot ceramic heart in the parking lot of the downtown Waxahachie hike-and-bike trail. The pattern will steal the attention of a passerby, but one should understand the meaning behind it.
This figure is one of 10 Hachie Hearts that have popped up around town, all serving as public art projects for Waxahachie visitors. The heart of hearts is sponsored by Daymark Living, a resort-style residential community specifically built and staffed for people with Intellectual and Developmental Delays.
Art has always been a favorite topic for Michael, and he admitted to enjoying all aspects and techniques of the trade.
“I love it because it’s one of my strengths and one of my successes that I’ve succeeded in,” Michael explained.
Michael expressed pride in the heart and loved the way it stands out in the park. He said it was an honor to work with the Dallas artist Jenny Galbraith on a project of this magnitude.
“This was very experiencing for me,” Michael said. “I knew Jenny had a passion for art and we did a painting for the Rise School too. So we’ve done this forever.”
Michael elaborated that he and Galbraith collaborated on a piece of art similar in design on the Hachie Heart back in October. The two initiated the idea on a canvas medium, which was then auctioned off to benefit the Rise School. This Dallas campus was founded by John Poston in 1998 and is now called the Ashford Rise School of Dallas. This education program provides services to both typical children and those with special needs.
John is the father of Michael, and also founded Daymark Living and Poston Gardens. He said Galbraith has known Michael since his birth 23 years ago, and “It’s special that Michael and Jenny painted the heart because our families have been very close for 50 years. A beautiful heart says everything about Michael Poston and Jenny Galbraith.”
Galbraith shared that Michael named the painting “Rising Love.” This work of art, in particular, is what inspired the design behind the Daymark Living Hachie Heart.
“I talked to John, and he had the brilliant idea of using the same idea of the Hachie Heart and Michael, and I went down there and started painting all those hearts,” Galbraith explained. “We had a ball doing it. I felt really, really honored to be part of that wonderful project that’s going on in Waxahachie.”
When it came to the Daymark Hachie Heart, Galbraith gave Michael a substantial amount of praise. She also credited him for his creativity and love for others when it came to the joyous design.
“Michael, he is the — what’s the word — heart savant,” Galbraith boasted. “He knows exactly how to do it, and I don’t even have to tell him how to do it. He’s got it.”
The process took about five trips from Dallas to complete the heart, and the experiences with Michael as well as the interaction with the Waxahachie community provided a positive adventure for Galbraith.
“Every time I was there, people would stop, and every person that did stop was so lovely and so welcoming and complimentary and wanted to know what was happening,” Galbraith elaborated.
Galbraith referenced herself as a professional artist and admitted to recently taking a more significant interest in art again as her children are now grown. Even though this was her first public art project to participate in, she has experience in jewelry making and painting.
Galbraith explained she has been friends with the Poston family for decades and both her children enrolled into the Rise School as typical children that live without intellectual disabilities.
“I just want the people of Waxahachie to know what an inventive person John is,” Galbraith said. “He asked me to help, and it meant the world to me.”
When Galbraith is in her workshop, she uses acrylic paint, and watercolor pencils mostly in pastel colors on canvases and board to create an abstract piece of art. She likes to incorporate different textures in the work and paints over cheesecloth and corrugated cardboard.
“Each one is a different, collaborative piece. You can put your hand over it and feel the bumps and waves, it’s nice,” she elaborated.
“It started it as an outlet and a hobby, but I have started selling my art,” Galbraith expressed. “It makes me happy, and it’s therapeutic. I do not go to an office every day and to think about painting, it makes me so happy. It’s not a nine to five job, but I do it often, and I love it.”
Once the heart was complete John had one word come to mind, “Hearticulture.” He continued, “is the one word I came up with to describe a mission and culture I’d like to have at Daymark Living and Poston Gardens — incorporate goodness in business. Business with a heart.”
For more information on Galbraith and her work, follow her on Instagram at @jennygalbraithart.