Renowned Artist Barbara Earl Thomas Mentors 3 Treehouse Youth

By Catherine Krummey, Treehouse Communications Specialist

Seattle-based artist Barbara Earl Thomas, who is renowned for her paper-cut installations, egg-tempera-on-paper paintings and glasswork, recently invited three Treehouse youth to her studio as part of our celebrity mentoring video series.

“This is where I come every single day to make things,” said Barbara, whose career spans more than 30 years.

The youth—Ericka, Tim and Jadea—are part of our Graduation Success program, which pairs youth in foster care with an Education Specialist to guide them on the journey to high school graduation. The students’ Education Specialists joined them in the visit to Barbara’s studio.

“It’s important that kids have dreams,” said Tenika Eddings, Ericka’s Education Specialist. “Encouraging them along that journey is also important.”

All three students have an interest in art and were eager to meet Barbara. Jadea even shared that she had prints of Barbara’s work on her art wall at home.

“I was astonished to see all of the pieces in real life instead of just clipping them out of magazines,” Jadea said.

Instead of just having a conversation with them, Barbara had them work with her on a 12-foot-tall paper-cut piece called “Man Down” that later went on display at Expo Chicago.

“I really like the kind of art Barbara does,” Ericka said. “It was really cool to see that you could make art just by cutting shapes out of a piece of paper.”

The mentoring experience was inspiring to our youth as they figure out what they will do after high school graduation.

“It was cool to see how successful she is and maybe what I can do one day,” Tim said.

Barbara first heard about Treehouse through Board Member Zan Brookshire and Treehouse supporter Micki Flowers. It’s important to Barbara that she advance our mission to give youth in foster care a childhood and a future.

“We must support young people,” Barbara said. “Our responsibility as human beings is to be a third parent to youth everywhere no matter where we are, and Treehouse sets a great example.”

Interested in supporting youth in foster care? Visit our Take Action section to volunteer, donate or see our other options to get involved.

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About the Author

Catherine Krummey is the Marketing and Communications Specialist at Treehouse. She is passionate about storytelling and excited to share stories about Treehouse through social media, blog posts and newsletters.

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