The recent fires in Northern California were devastating to the area. Thousands right here in our backyard lost homes or were impacted in some way, including family of Art.com employees. We asked ourselves, what can we do to help make life better for those affected? In the spirit of the holidays and celebrating family, we partnered with San Francisco photographer Mario Elias and his Kinda Super Project to take free holiday family portraits for anyone who was affected by the fires.
We spent three days at hotels in Sonoma and Santa Rosa, where we set up a studio and started taking photos. In total, we met 50 families, and listened in awe to their stories of survival. We exchanged a lot of hugs, and sent all of them home with an 8×10 family portrait that we printed and framed on the spot.
Every family we met is in a temporary home right now. Some are in small, one bedroom apartments, some are staying with relatives, and some are even in trailers while they work to rebuild their homes. Many told us that this portrait is the first new possession they have since the fire. There was even a family for which this is the first family photo they’ve ever had as their first child (whom they named “Hope”) was born just days after the fire.
All of them expressed such genuine happiness and gratitude at how the community has come together to help one another in truly meaningful ways like this right now. These acts can make a huge difference in what has surely been a difficult holiday season.
We feel so inspired by our neighbors, friends, and family who’ve endured so much, but continue to stay strong and look ahead. And we’re happy we can help people have something personal and meaningful like a family photo wherever they are this season. Like one employee whose family lost homes says in the video below, “we can’t give these families back what they lost, but we can give them the gift of art.”
If you’d like to support the Kinda Super Project, you can donate here.