More than 100 Vietnamese artists displayed original works of art at the “Paint a Heart” art exhibit in Westminster on Dec. 16, presented by the Stable Anchor Manor Foundation.
The foundation was founded in 2009 by Dr. Sam Nguyen, a doctor of naturopathy who has dedicated her charity to the Vietnamese community in Orange County as well as orphans living in Vietnam.
“Overseas, I have 300 kids who call me Mom,” Nguyen said at the event, which was held at the Asian World Media studio in Westminster, where Nguyen serves as CEO.
The S.A.M. Foundation’s focus is providing support and guidance to homeless, runaway and at-risk youth and orphans. The organization also hosts an annual Thanksgiving blanket drive for Southern California’s homeless, helps feed the food insecure and offers a Teen Achieve Scholarship for students in the United States and the Dr. Sam Scholarship for studious students in Vietnam.
“Besides helping the unfortunate kids, we also help the academic kids that are doing well but can’t afford school on their own,” Nguyen said.
The art displayed was available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the S.A.M. Foundation so it can continue its work. The organization has been self-funded since its inception, but in an effort to expand its reach, it is currently pending for a 501(c)3 status.
Artists featured at Thursday’s show included Lam Thuy, who studied at the University of Fine Arts and taught art at the Exemplify School in Thu Duc County, Vietnam.
“I have been an artist for 52 years,” Thuy said, “more than half a century.”
Thuy came to Orange County in 1989, where she has lived since, and her piece, “Dreamland,” was featured in the show.
The oil on canvas features an ethereal scene of a flower-crowned woman surrounded by doves and butterflies. There are nine doves in the scene, which Thuy said holds a special meaning for her.
“It symbolizes a river in Vietnam we call the Nine Ravens,” Thuy said. “I didn’t want to draw the ravens because they are scary, so I drew doves, the symbol of peace.”
Thuy said the show is important not only for the orphans and students it benefits but for the Vietnamese artist community.
“Before COVID, oftentimes we would have art shows in our Vietnamese community, ” said Thuy. “Because of COVID, we have missed that chance to gather together to show people our passion for art.”
Nguyen said she has hopes for concentrating her efforts locally, to further help Westminster, a city known for its many Vietnamese refugees who immigrated there during the 1980s.
“For Westminster, this work is very important. There is not a library big enough for all the kids to go after school, there is not many programs like that,” Nguyen said. “I have been working really hard to open a center, a place for kids to come after school and be safe. Especially if they can’t speak the language and need help. That is my dream.”
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