ENCINITAS — Art lovers will be able to help children with cleft and craniofacial deformities while admiring the work of Maribel V. Moses at the Encinitas Civic Center Gallery through Aug. 22. Fifty percent of money raised through print sales will be donated to Smiles International Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Moses and husband, Dr. Jeffrey J. Moses.
The show features 42 signed, limited edition 11-by-14-inch prints priced about $60.
Moses said she taught herself how to paint 30 years ago when she was given a box of acrylics as a gift. A busy career forced her to put down her palette for several years but in 2009 she returned to her art full-time. Since then she has completed more than 120 paintings, progressing from early works of children, animals, flowers and nudes to international faces with a special interest in the elderly.
Last year Moses said she became overwhelmed with the volume of art she had produced.
“I said, ‘Lord, what am I going to do with these?’” she recalled. “He said ‘Just show them.’”
She decided to go out on a limb and, for the first time, applied to have an exhibition of her art at the Encinitas Civic Center Gallery. A selection committee comprised of artists, instructors and gallery directors validated her efforts by accepting her work. The exhibit showcases portraits of elderly people Moses has encountered during her travels abroad.
“I am very spiritual person and I love old people because they are unappreciated, forgotten and abandoned,” she said. “They have known the best of life, and have seen the worst of life, and they have been pushed to the side which has to be painful. In India, when people don’t want to take care of an elderly parent anymore, they’ll take her to another city and drop her off.”
Moses, who was living in South Florida in 2003, said she met her husband at the airport in Costa Rica when she returned home for a visit. Dr. Moses began sharing his mission work with children with her, and it struck a chord. The two fell in love and in 2005 launched the nonprofit, Smiles International Foundation. Dr. Moses reports that thousands of children in Costa Rica, Mexico, India and the Ukraine have been helped by the nonprofit so far.
“I am blessed to have an intelligent and gifted individual such as Maribel join me on these missions,” he said. “She adds not only the organizational skills necessary for the management of the children’s patient flow for the surgeries and their record keeping, but gives her heart and soul to making them comfortable in this, sometimes stress producing, surgical environment.
“Her profits (sales of artwork) go directly to purchase necessary medications, sutures and sterile supplies necessary for the surgical correction of the children’s facial deformities,” Dr. Moses explained, adding that surgery on cleft palate, which costs approximately $4,000 in the United States, is only $250 through the Smiles International Foundation.
In addition to helping children, the foundation provides clinically related education for professionals and volunteers through accredited Continuing Education Symposia, which promotes international liaisons and ambassadorial relationships between professionals and universities with the goal of making each mission site self-sufficient.
A reception honoring Maribel V. Moses will be held at the Encinitas Civic Center Gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. July 27. For more information, visit art4smiles.org or http://smilesinternationalfoundation.org.