These Are My Friends and they remain with me forever - 2/2019

The Validation Day Parade returns to Gallery 5 on February 14, 2019. Photo by Terry Brown

The Validation Day Parade returns to Gallery 5 on February 14, 2019. Photo by Terry Brown

About Milk River Arts 

Milk River Arts is a creative community where the exchange between artists with and without special needs inspires personal and professional growth. Milk River Arts introduces emerging artists to mentors, ideas and materials and encourages exploration. Milk River Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and operates out of a storefront studio on 23rd St. in Church Hill. Their goal is to create an environment in which everyone feels valued inside a joyful, generous space to practice, teach and learn.

Curatorial Statement

This exhibition features art by Milk River artists with a thematic focus on friendship, relationships and how we enrich each other's lives. 

The title of this show is based on something Andrea, one of our artists, said in describing a drawing of hers. In reflecting on Andrea’s quote, and on the season in which this exhibition will take place, I was reminded of how, on Valentine’s Day in elementary school, everyone gave Valentines to everyone else. There is a way in which we acknowledge the humanity of children and their emotional vulnerability, but do not extend the same humanity to ourselves. The Valentine’s Day holiday, I think, is quite a broken holiday, and broken tradition for this reason. 

Jean Vanier, founder of the worldwide network of L’Arche Communities for adults with developmental disabilities, wrote in Community and Growth, “There is always an element of sadness in celebration. We cannot celebrate without alluding to it, because there are people on this earth of ours who are not celebrating, who are despairing, anguished, starving and mourning. That is why all celebration should end with a silence in which we remember before God all those who cannot celebrate and are in pain today.” 

Valentines Day, in shining a light on the loved only casts into greater darkness those who are suffering. In response, Milk River Arts, together with Lily Lamberta of All the Saints Theater Company, and artist Barry O’Keefe, a Milk River mentor, will be leading a public performance on February 14th designed to challenge and rethink how we celebrate love. You can learn more about this event and how you can get involved on the right side of the gallery.


Andrea Budu-Inspire, Albert Costanzo, Bukuru Nyandwi, Shaina Cilimberg, William Anderson, Lewis Woodhead, Mark Trezise, Lily Lamberta, Barry O’Keefe