The Arts Center of the Capital Region invites you to join us on May 7 at 2 PM to celebrate the exhibition opening of Esmé’s Stories: A Magical Journey. The show will run through June 4 in the Wallace & Foyer Galleries.
When offered the chance for a Make-A-Wish, 11 year-old Esmé Savoie expressed her desire to create an “Esmé Museum” where she could share her stories and bring people together to experience them in new ways. Since its inception nearly 35 years ago, Make-A-Wish® Northeast New York has granted more than 2,000 wishes — each one conceived by a child’s imagination. And, as you will see, Esmé’s wish is certainly imaginative!
The Arts Center agreed to transform our Wallace Gallery into a visual interpretation of Esmé’s most recent creative storytelling. Artists, Royal Brown, Toast Halasz, and Shanelle Carter-Maddox created the magical artwork that brought Esmé’s stories to life with contributions from, Jing Agunzo, Isabella Burnett, Cynthia Fiorini, Benj Gleeksman, Charlie Gleeksman, and Kim Tateo.
In her own words, “My name is Esmé Ann Savoie. I was born on January 14 in Troy, New York. My mom and dad are always by my side, and I love it. They are supportive and kind. When I was younger, my mom taught me letters and numbers, but I learned to read myself. I have always been a *storyteller* mostly to myself. My stories were in my head without a way to tell them. I needed a change. Then finally Kayleigh and I started working together. I saw the new way could be good.”
Esmé lives with significant medical complexity that inhibits her ability to speak, walk, and eat. She is also a storyteller who uses an Eyegaze-driven communication device to share her knowledge, intelligence, and humor as well as her vision of the world. Esmé’s stories, and indeed her life, are filled with creative magic, inspired by her experiences visiting MASS MOCA, the Frida Kahlo exhibit in Brooklyn, and Disney Animation Studios, but also by the connections she has formed with the people (and the occasional Muppet) who she has pulled into her orbit.
Curator Belinda Colón said, “I’m honored to present such an inspirational, rewarding and amazing experience to Esmé, her family, friends and our community. Thank you to Make-A-Wish Northeast NY for granting wishes.”
Make-A-Wish Northeast New York CEO William C. Trigg, III said, “Wishes, whether they are to go on a trip to Walt Disney World® Resort, have a backyard playset, meet a celebrity or any of the other nearly endless options, all have one thing in common: they are driven by a child’s imagination. This exhibit, the first of its kind for the chapter, illustrates the beautiful mind of Esmé, and the boundless possibilities a wish can offer.”
Wish mom Hillary Savoie, said, “When she wished for an ‘Esmé Museum,’ it was the first time Ez used communication to share a creative vision of how she wanted something to be, and from there, with the support of her communication team, her creativity exploded. Esmé has a lot to teach this world about magic, love, jokes and fun – and why we must always presume the competency of individuals who communicate differently and support them in finding their own voices!”
Make-A-Wish grants life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Make-A-Wish Northeast New York serves the 15 counties comprising the 518 and 838 area codes. The chapter normally grants 90-100 wishes each year, and has granted more than 2,000 wishes since 1987. To donate, volunteer, refer a child or learn more about Make-A-Wish, visit wish.org/neny and discover how you can share the power of a wish.
The May 7th celebration and opening includes a special live performance of one of Esmé’s stories by musical duo Jocelyn & Chris.
Thank you to exhibit sponsors Jocelyn & Chris, Emily Petersen and The Sagamore Resort, Chantel Squires and Albany Broadcasting Co., and Make-A-Wish Northeast New York.
Now prepare yourself for a magical journey!
The Arts Center of the Capital Region, on Monument Square in downtown Troy, is a 36,000 square foot fully-accessible studio, exhibition, and performing arts space. The Arts Center offers classes, exhibits, and programs serving 48,000 people a year drawn from an 11-county region surrounding Troy. The Arts Center is proud to serve as a regional arts center, known for its wide range of high-quality classes for adults and children, arts camps for children and teens, highly acclaimed exhibitions, funding, and technical support for arts organizations and artists.