Art in the Service of Life: How the Rosa Thay Nguyen Children’s Foundation and the ISEE Artists Gallery Make Positive Global Change
By The Art Commission, CODAWORX
June 1, 2018
“Visual art, literature and music have always been important parts of my own creative expression,” says Elizabeth Nguyen-Espinoza. “But as a person who had experienced hardship as a child, I know that in order to be a fully creative person, our basic life needs have to be met – including good health. When I shared my ideas about starting a gallery as well as a foundation that would be part of making positive change in the lives of children, the artists in my community showed great interest and followed up with their support.”
Born in Vietnam, Liz and her immediate family came to the United States in 1975. “It was difficult as we didn’t speak the language and had to reestablish our entire lives in a foreign culture.” Liz’s parents worked multiple jobs in order to give their children a chance at a much better life. “I named the non-profit after my mother. She gave so much. She had such a huge sense of compassion. The foundation is really about the big vision of a better humanity. It’s echoed in the words of the Dalai Lama ‘Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.’”
The foundation acquires funds through a number of avenues including charitable contributions, grants and the funds raised through the donation of art and proceeds from the sales of art via the ISEE Gallery. “Our community of artists is very strong here in Southern California. There has been such an outpouring of love and support for the work the organization does. We’ve been involving more and more people through local exhibitions, fundraisers and networking with local arts organizations. What we are looking to do now is to get artists from other cities and states involved. This is definitely about growing our network, about getting our message out to the world.”
The work of the foundation is primarily driven by the needs of children, especially children in developing countries where access to first-rate medical care, surgery and medications isn’t always available.