Art that Lifts Our Spirits: 5 Winning Artists


As Director of Manhattan Arts International I’ve had the pleasure of organizing several exhibitions related to the healing power of art. We recently launched the “ART that Lifts Our Spirits,” an online exhibition that features 60 artists.

Contrary to what the title may suggest, the purpose of this competition was not to bombard viewers with saccharine sunrises and smiley faces. These works, although aesthetically beautiful, transcend the boundaries of superficiality. Although the visceral response when viewing many of these works of art may be a warm fuzzy feeling that makes you smile, they also provide insight into the enormous power of human potential. Additionally, they met our criteria of technical skill and innovation.

As much as I love viewing artwork, I receive enormous pleasure in reading what artists write about their intentions. During the judging process, we focused exclusively on the images that were submitted. After selecting the winners, we visited their websites. It was the most extraordinary experience to read their statements and discover the synchronicity they had with our theme.

Here, I share statements from five of the 60 winning artists. I invite you to view this online exhibition at and also visit the artists’ websites.

Len Cicio lives in Inwood, NY. He writes:

“My goal is to take a careful and analytical study, looking to capture the supernatural behind the natural world we see every day and to encourage and lift people up. The Creator stamped the color of love into the life, movement and power of His creation and its patterns. The subways, skies and landscapes hold all these patterns of life that are so intricately woven in details.”

Daggi Wallace lives in Moorpark, Calif. About her artistic process she states:

“Painting portraits to me is all about exploring our shared humanity, the connection we have to each other and our common Source. Each face tells a story and communicating this to others is my goal. As these portraits are given new homes; my hope is to bring the world outside our own little circles a little closer.”

ARINA (Arina Gordienko) is a Russian-born British artist based in London. Her oil paintings are in many collections worldwide. In her artist’s statement she reveals:

“Beauty will save the World. We all create this world around and all the artists are responsible in particular for what they transfer into the Universe. Art is a powerful tool to bring Beauty and Harmony to the world — to save it.”

James Campbell, an artist from Bloomington, Ind., reveals:

“One goal of my art, for myself and the viewer, is to “real-ize” through the creative process the possibility of discovery. The imagery in my work, informed by the complex and dependent relationship of mind and environment, presents a vision of living by exploring the nature of change. By utilizing diverse materials in my work, whether it is a stack of magazines, ‘retired’ berets or traditional paints, I demonstrate that imagination is transformative. With each brushstroke, each stroke of the chisel, mundane materials and ideas become renewed.”

Nicole Brauch is an artist from Bothell, Wash. Here is a brief quote from her statement:

“I am an American artist who has lived in and has family in Germany. Since 1993, my work has involved ideas about transience, loss, identity, memory and war. My work is derived from personal history — either told or uncovered. I document the memories of people, things and moments that continue to resonate in my life. It is my attempt to integrate and reconcile autobiographical motifs.”

All of the artists mentioned in this blog have a keen awareness of the purpose behind the art they create. On a consistent basis, with a creative commitment, they produce art that demonstrates that purpose. When artists like these submit their work to galleries or organizations, they most frequently win respect and accolades. In my experience, when conviction and innovation are combined with superior artistic technical skills, such artists will continue to impress art jurors and other decision makers.

Renée Phillips, The Artrepreneur Coach, is the author of several books and publications, which can be found on Manhattan Arts International ( She organizes exhibitions related to the healing power of art. She offers advice to artists in private consultations and on her blog at She invites you to follow her on Twitter @reneephillipsny, and join her on and