Fraser: Create locally, think globally |

Fraser: Create locally, think globally

by Cyndi McCoy
Fraser, Colorado

Oft times, arts and crafts become much more than a hobby, and for one local artist it has been a way to reach out a hand to people across the world.

Kate Garchinsky is excited to bring attention to a current project with the (no_name) Art Group, of which she has been a part of since 2002. The art group is a volunteer artist collective based in her old hometown of Philadelphia.

Told from an early age that she was “talented” and “artistic” and had “great potential,” she grew up loving puppetry, art, theater and music. She earned a bachelor degree in fine arts in illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and received an Award for Excellence in illustration at graduation.

Her primary focus of study was children’s book illustration and she has been an illustrator, graphic designer and toy developer in the Philadelphia area since 1997 (her client list includes FAO Schwarz). She now resides in Fraser (since 2005) and has taught several classes at Streamside Art Gallery in Granby.

The (no_name) Art Group, founded by Sherry Berger, collaborates on projects to benefit charity organizations all over the world. The concept behind its most recent project, “Memory Portraits,” “is to create a memoir for those who otherwise have very few, if any, personal affects from their childhoods,” Garchinsky said.

Last year, Garchinsky finished a portrait for a young orphan boy in Uganda and for this year’s cause she created a watercolor portrait of Bui Thi Phuoc Hanh, a 35-year-old paraplegic from Vietnam. Berger delivered the vibrant work to Hanh in mid-September.

Garchinsky created the most recent portrait to help raise funds for Hanh and other disabled women crafters. By helping promote the sale of their creative wares, it boosts their only source of income.

Crafts include greeting cards and chopstick vases, as well as hand-knit scarves by Hanh who can’t sit for too long and makes them lying on her back. For more than 18 years, Hanh was mostly confined to her bed but her quality of life improved significantly through the good graces and support of the art group.

Her father, a brick maker, used to deliver his bricks in a wooden cart that Hanh would sometimes help push. But everything came to a crashing halt when one day a truck ran into her and the cart. She couldn’t feel anything from the waist down and would never fully recover.

Her 10 brothers and sisters left home as she watched the world seem to roll by and she worried how she would support herself. Now, she is the proud owner of a three-wheel motorbike donated and specially adapted for her through the Lifestart Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit charity out of Victoria, Australia that helps orphans, street kids and families in Vietnam become self-sufficient.

She has been enjoying the opportunities the bike opened up for her, including being able to visit her friends. The bike has given her back her life, she said, and the Lifestart program gave her the chance to be financially independent. She joined the disabled women workshop this year and after weeks of training she is producing the scarves and mosaic cards in the social and positive company of others like herself.

To contact Garchinsky and to see more of her work visit her Web site For more information on the crafts available, visit

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