The Human Spirit
A 9/11 Tribute
September 9 - November 5, 2011
The exhibit will open on Friday, September 9th

A reception with artists Daryl Zang and Krzysztof Pastuszka will held on Sunday, November 6th fr

Ray Donley

On this 10th anniversary of 9/11, our gallery exhibit celebrates the human spirit and the ability to persevere…when everything around us has so dramatically changed.

The exhibit opens on September 9th and runs through November 5th.

We honor the ability to make sense out of chaos. To dream big and reimagine our world and our potential. We honor the everlasting presence of our loved ones.

And the importance of appreciating the simple pleasures of life.

We honor a day, September 11 2011, that has forever changed our lives, and our perspectives.

And we share the personal stories of our artists The Human Spirit includes the artwork of:
  • Austin portrait artist, Ray Donley
  • Emerging artist, Krzysztof Pastuszka
  • Syracuse artist, Michael Barletta
  • Hawaii artist, Connie Firestone
  • Connecticut artist, Daryl Zang

  • The exhibit will be debuting a new series by Daryl Zang, as well as Ray Donley.

    A portion of all gallery sales is donated to charities helping underserved children heal through art. We currently support Free Arts NYC, Creative Arts Workshops for Kids and Arts to Grow

    • What: The Human Spirit
    • When: September 9 – November 5th, 2011
    • Special Reception: Saturday, October 29th from 4-7pm
    • Where: Elisa Contemporary Art Gallery, 5622 Mosholu Avenue, Riverdale NY
    • Gallery Hours: Friday/Saturday 10 am - 6pm, and by Appointment (Days/Evenings/Sunday.

    • Personal Artist stories:

      From Austin Artist, Ray Donley
      For Ray Donley, September 11th, 2001 was 11 days before he was scheduled to open his first New York solo show. He had planned and painted for the exhibit for more than one year. As he and his wife flew into New York on September 20th, the Twin Towers were still billowing smoke.

      According to Ray “I was devastated by the attack first and foremost because of my great love for New York and the many friends who lived here. My solo show proceeded as planned opening on September 22nd, mainly due to the urging of then Mayor Giuliani for everyone to get "back to business." However, it was a disaster. There was so much grief and sadness that permeated the city.”

      His art then, as it is now, was poignant and reflective, and captures a very psychological element.

      He has never had a solo show in New York since and continues to feel almost superstitious about it.

      For Hawaii Abstractionist, Connie Firestone:

      “We got a call from our daughter at 5AM saying simply "turn on the television". There is something so ominous about that. I sat for hours, wrapped in a blanket, although it was quite warm, watching with our entire nation in broken-hearted shock; then I went to my studio and painted until the light was gone.

      As soon as I had enough light the next morning, I was back working on three large canvases at once, crying and painting for 10 solid hours. I think I was trying to create guardians for the world.”

      For Connecticut Figurative artist, Daryl Zang
      She was 5 months pregnant with her oldest son, Fritz, and was absolutely miserable.

      According to Daryl “I was nauseous and dizzy and had a severely pinched nerve in my hip from how he was positioned. My husband Tom had left early that morning for the airport for a business trip. We had recently hired someone, who spoke very little English, to help me around the house. I ended up spending the day and long into the night on the couch sitting with her, first trying to mime out what was happening and then just watching the news together."

      The day definitely made me realize how precious family is. I know being pregnant at the time influenced my decision to be home with my son.

      Several years later, when I picked up my brushes again, my early paintings were solely focused on him.” Fritz continues to be the focus of much of Daryl’s work and is featured in one the exhibit paintings.

      More artist stories continue below the video walkaround.

      Here's a video walk-around of this exhibit:

      Emerging Artist, Krysztof Pastuszka
      He was living and attending High School in Michigan.

      He remembers everyone crowding into a closet where there was a TV to see what was happening, and the solemn state that came over his school as everyone was trying to understand what was happening… and why.

      Syracuse Artist, Michael Barletta
      On 9/11, Michael Barletta was working in the framing department of a local art supplier. As he entered the warehouse to start his day, he heard a radio which was tuned to NPR. The morning programming was interrupted with a special report that was already being called an alleged terrorist attack. Michael's co-worker and best friend had not yet heard the news, and Michael knew he had an older brother who had recently moved to Manhattan.

      They tried calling his brother...but with no luck .

       According to Michael,
      "I peeked into the store and saw people whispering, some wide eyed with a hand cupped over their mouths.  One person leaned against a rack of paints with their head down possibly crying.  Then came an announcement over the store's PA.  The owner insisted that everything was going to be ok and that staff should continue with their duties and customers should continue shopping."

      Michael and his friend informed the owner that  that would be leaving work. They walked to his friend's house about 15 minutes away and spent the afternoon watching chaos unfold on live television interspersed with the networks replaying what little footage they had at the time.  Same image over and over until you became numb or physically ill.

      It was almost midnight before they reached his friends brother. He was fine and said he was far from the scene all day.  

       The next day they learned the art supplier closed about an hour after they had left.

      If you have your own 9/11 story to share, please email me at We'll be posting them on our blog at