BACKGROUND

Background

Lost Dreams on Canvas

Combatting Violence  Through Art

On a summer day in 1988, five year-old Marcus Yates was playing video games in a small corner store near his grandmother’s home in southwest Philadelphia. An argument began between two drug dealers and gunfire was exchanged. Marcus ran for protection to his older brother Tony when a bullet ripped through his skull.

A group of local war veterans were outraged when they heard about the senseless murder of Marcus, the young son of a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran. Veteran Rich Montgomery's inspired to create the Veterans Against Drugs organization to offer support for families of innocent victims of random crime.  Lost Dreams on Canvas is the result of unique partnership that began in 1993 when Mr. Montgomery contacted artist Judy Ringold to seek artists to paint portraits of the many children who are innocent victims of violence. 

Lost Dreams on Canvas Process and Exhibits:

Lost Dreams on Canvas is a portrait exhibition of children who were innocent victims of violence. Since 1993 over 100 professional artists have donated their time and talent to paint more than 500 portraits of innocent victims of random violence across the country. Lost Dreams on Canvas preserves the memories of the children by capturing their images on canvas. The portraits forever leave an imprint in our hearts and minds. The haunting faces of these children tell the stories of their unfulfilled dreams and lost promises of their lives.

Volunteer artists paint portraits of slain children. The completed portraits are presented to the surviving family members. Portrait reproductions are mounted on modular display walls hat travel around as the centerpiece for anti-violence programming.

Troy Johnson painted by Janis Pinkston

Troy Johnson painted by Janis Pinkston

The portraits are moving. The message is direct and strong. Youth violence is out of control, a distressing trend that is among the most important issues facing our society today. Without a word, the exhibit memorializes crime’s young victims and illustrates the toll that violence is taking on our young people. The mission of Lost Dreams on Canvas is to reduce violence by making sure we do not forget while providing positive option.

                      Marcus Yates, 5 years old,  Painted by Eleanor Day

                      Marcus Yates, 5 years old,  Painted by Eleanor Day

As portraits are completed they are added to the mobile walls. Unfortunately, there are many more portraits to paint. Each child’s portrait includes a story of their lost dreams, hopes and aspirations that ended so abruptly the day they were slain.

Khaaliq holds a Lost Dreams on Canvas portrait of his uncle Khaaliq Jabbar Johnson, an innocent victim of violence at Mother’s in Charge “We remember Them” event. Khaaliq was senselessly murdered December 2001.

Khaaliq holds a Lost Dreams on Canvas portrait of his uncle Khaaliq Jabbar Johnson, an innocent victim of violence at Mother’s in Charge “We remember Them” event. Khaaliq was senselessly murdered December 2001.

Lost Dreams portrait of Justin Reyes presented to his mother Kathy Lees and family by artist Karl Hanson. Justin was senselessly murdered June 2011