This week, we are proud to recognize Ashley Patterson with the Photographers for Good feature.
Ashley Patterson of Skyward Images in Kentucky is an Emerging Photographer For Good. Inspired by her own difficult life events, Ashley established the sTRUTT festival in 2010 to both raise awareness for the arts and to raise funds for a cause. The proceeds go to The Dream Factory, a non-profit organization that grants last wishes for children suffering from critical or chronic illnesses. This year, sTRUTT will take place: March 31, 2011 in Bardstown, KY and April 21, 2011 in Louisville, KY.
What was the inspiration for sTRUTT?
The sTRUTT format was inspired by my background in art and performing arts. I graduated from YPAS (Youth Performing Arts School ) and Manual (which had a great visual arts program. I was exposed to a great deal of art at a very impressionable age, and that led to a lifelong passion for all things art. The town that I live in now is a very small country town, and there is a major lack of arts out here, and that is why I produce sTRUTT as a performance art and visual art show.
The reason that I do sTRUTT for the Dream Factory is to support the families that go through such tough circumstances and battle illnesses. My youngest son has battled pulmonary diseases his whole life, and my family has been through a lot, so I can empathize with them.
Tell us a little about the festival. Why is it such a big deal?
The goal is to grant 2 dreams this year. This is the 2nd year for sTRUTT but the first for many things. The first to be in 2 cities, the first for the Dream Factory, the first to have a movie made about it. The first…(this could go on and on you can read more in the blog www.skywardfoto.com)
Any major lessons learned? Big catastrophes?
Trying to start something brand new sounds glamorous, but it is very difficult. The people in my town are fantastic, but they don’t have a lot of arts our here so they ask me “why?” and well, my answer is “why not?” It is also a tough time for a lot of people and so it has been a challenge to get sponsorships.
Why focus on The Dream Factory as your charity of choice?
As I mentioned, my little boy has battled illness, and has literally fought for his little life. I know what it feels like to be helpless. So now I want to feel helpful.
We love photographers who give back … why is it an important part of your ethos?
Ok, I had to look up Ethos LOL. Giving back is more like paying it forward. You always reap a far greater reward than you invest. Always.
How can other photographers follow your lead in giving back?
Just do it … Life is short. We have to make time for the things that are important for us. My studio opens late every Tuesday so I can read to kids who need a little one-on-one help. I have been rewarded with the heartwarming friendships that I have with my “Partners with Primary”.
I never would have guessed that they would grab ahold of my heart like that. Especially if you are in a rough spot. When you are really down and out – what can pull you out faster than anything else- is to help someone else. It’s as easy as smiling at a stranger, or letting the lady behind you with a pack of gum go in front of you at the checkout line. Last week I was at the store and there was a lady in a wheelchair looking at the apples next to me, so I asked her if I could hand her anything, and she said to me ” You are the first person in 15 years to ever ask me that.” I found that to be very sad. We can all do something to make the world better, and the little things add up to be big things. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me Photocrati- your sites rock 🙂