“It’s All About Giving Back,” – Steve Kaufman

Executive Director Rahsmia Zatar, at left, receives a Steve Kaufman painting for display at S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth from Diana Vachier, owner of American Pop Art, Inc.

Last week we had the pleasure of visiting S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth, Inc., Long Island’s only gang prevention and intervention agency.  As some of you may know, STRONG was chosen to receive ten percent of sales from paintings sold through www.americanpopartinc.com.  S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth was a logical choice for giving back on Long Island.  During his lifetime, pop artist Steve Kaufman aided approximately 2,000 troubled youth.  We feel compelled to continue his legacy.

Through youth empowerment programs and activities that promote positive values, S.T.R.O.N.G. gives young men and women the tools to eliminate negative behaviors associated with gang involvement.  The organization underwent a recent move from downtown Hempstead to a multilevel home in Uniondale.  We noted endless opportunities as we toured the sprawling grounds.  We walked the area slated for a Peace Garden, and viewed a large tent area for barbecues and activities, a yurt (a round, tent-like structure often used in the Himalayas) for creative activities, and enough extra land to accommodate a ball field and other sporting activities.  S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth, Inc. is rolling out some exciting initiatives, including a new Summer Program.  Please visit www.strongyouth.com for more information about this growing organization.

During our visit, Diana Vachier presented a Steve Kaufman painting to Rahsmia Zatar, Executive Director, for display at the agency.  The “Portrait of An Achiever” pop art painting of Abraham Lincoln detailed several of his personal failures before his success as President of the United States.

The painting reads, “You cannot fail… unless you quit!  A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.”

Remember, no matter what your past, you can always achieve positivity and success.  It is never too late.

At this time, we are going to open our blog to showcase up and coming art talent from Long Island, in addition to our standard coverage of pop and modern art subjects.  If you have displayed your work locally on Long Island and would like to be featured here, please send an email and 2 images to lgworldcom@gmail.com with the words BLOG SUBMISSION in the subject line.  Artists must be from Nassau or Suffolk County.  Charity-driven works are a plus.

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