Meet the Artist: Amy Gelfman

Amy has always thrived on creativity and imagination. For more than 20 years, she has been entertaining children and the elderly with her music on the guitar and storytelling. Her childhood love of painting was rekindled after a visit to a local paint and wine bar for a friend’s birthday. She believes that if you love to create, you can channel that creative energy into whatever you wish, which for her means painting on canvas for her.

Sojourner Family Peace Center (Hers): The home is not always a physical place but a spiritual one, often developed by female energy. She protects her child, and they thrive on her strength. The physical home in the center is the safe haven that resides within us. We try to pass this on to our children, even when the physical home is compromised. No one can take that internal home away from you. But, inevitably, life is uncertain. I was drawn to elements of nature that are both predictable and unpredictable. The central figures are coming out of the darkness to the middle panel, which is full of life and hope.

Sojourner Family Peace Center (Collaborative): The middle panel was created from a collaborative process of much discussion, compromise and discovery between us. As we read about Sojourner Truth, the inspiration for Sojourner Family Peace Center, we were moved by her integrity and resolution. In our painting, she is the central maternal figure, collecting the fruits of her labor, proof of which is Sojourner Family Peace Center. The individuals on each panel are reaching towards the light in this middle panel; a sign of rebirth, hope and faith.

What is the most impactful thing you learned about Northwestern Mutual and its philanthropy?
I’m very impressed that an organization as large as Northwestern Mutual has made it a priority to support local charities. To see beyond just financial numbers of giving is truly groundbreaking. The Northwestern Mutual Foundation has found a unique way to encourage community involvement through art. What a way to strengthen our community!

What have you done or are thinking of doing to help the community based on your involvement with the project?
This project has definitely opened my eyes. Touring Sojourner Family Peace Center with my husband was a humbling experience. It’s such a safe and warm environment, where judgment and blame do not exist. I absolutely want to be part of this organization in some way. Knowing the healing nature of creativity, art and music, I hope to offer my time and share my love of these three things. I believe everybody has something to share, a story to tell.

Cake or pie?
A generous slice of each, please! With a scoop of butter pecan ice cream. Oh, and coffee with cream. Thanks!