TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Amanda Nachman’s art tells the story of childhood secrets, and the mental and physical abuse occurring inside her home.
“It started when I was a young child,” Amanda said. “I didn’t realize what mental and physical abusive behaviors were. The safe situation to me, at home, was always a bad situation. I didn’t know the difference. I wondered if I was the only one experiencing this, or if it just wasn’t talked about. When I grew older, I realized my situation wasn’t normal.”
Amanda began channeling her confusion and pain into art, which eventually led to awards and acknowledgment of her considerable talent. Today, Amanda is a freshman fine arts student at the Ringling College of Art and Design, with the assistance of two men who heard her story and wanted to help.
Steven Anderson and Andrew Ashton, Clearwater salon owners, launched their My Fairy Godfather’s Foundation in 2010, to help girls and young women dealing with tough life circumstances, including domestic violence and serious illnesses. They’re known for the makeovers and prom experiences they provide to women without the means to treat themselves to those luxuries.
But, that’s not all they do.
Three years ago, My Fairy Godfathers added a scholarship program to their initiatives, with a goal of supporting high school students who want to pursue a career in an artistic field.
“We try to achieve beauty from the inside, as well as beauty from the outside, and we want to help women feel empowered, confidence, and self-worthy,” Andrew said, adding that reading Amanda’s story on a scholarship application, and seeing her art, touched his heart. “She told her story through her art, and you could actually see the things that she was going through. It’s really beautiful.”
Steven says his business caters to women of means, but the reality is that girls and women like Amanda struggle every day.
“They’re all around you, and you don’t realize what’s really going on, especially with young people,” Steven said.
Now, My Fairy Godfathers is making Amanda’s wish of graduating from college, and eventually owning a fine arts gallery, a little easier. The foundation sent a check to Ringling College, lightening Amanda’s burden of paying for school.
Amanda’s continuing to tell her story through her paintings and sculptures, because she understands that other children are living in homes that hide secrets, like her’s did. She hopes her art spreads the message of understanding and healing.
“Art helped me take a bad situation, and turn it into a good one,” she says. “I was able to empower myself, and I can empower others, and educate others about child abuse.”
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