By Ashley Ferraro
Joseph Gormley doesn’t ask for much, aside from the opportunity to give back to his community. A local school custodian, Joseph came to America from Scotland in 2003 and discovered his passion for painting not long after. With pieces going for as much as $25k, he’s impressively managed to raise over $300k for charity.
It all started when his wife, Erin, got him a paint set for Christmas 15 years ago. Joseph remembers having enjoyed artwork as a child but never really had a chance to pursue it. He says he would have never imagined his life turning out this way.
Joseph’s first painting for charity raised $8k to help a child back in Scotland pay her medical bills for Leukemia treatment. “That’s the day I realized that my art wasn’t for me. I was given this talent to help other people,” he recounts.
A father of a three and five-year-old, Joseph emphasizes the importance of family time, too. That’s why he only sneaks off to paint while the kids are sleeping, even if that means he has to wake up at 4 AM before work to do so.
Not only is Joseph a family man and an incredibly talented artist, he also has a noble perspective on life. “My job being a janitor keeps me humble,” he chuckles. “Because even if my artwork sells for $25k, the next day, I’m back to cleaning toilets.”
Joseph has always given his pieces away and has never really had a body of work. However, during the pandemic, he was able to store his artwork for the first time in his life. On September 23rd, Joseph’s art will be displayed at the Coral Springs Museum of Art for The Art to Wellbeing: An Art Showcase to Benefit Mental Health.
All proceeds from the event will go toward the Mental Wellness Networking Alliance and The Veterans Networking Alliance. The Veterans Networking Alliance has a particular focus on helping and providing resources to Vietnam Veterans. The founder of both organizations, Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook, is urgently pushing to fund education for suicide awareness and other mental wellness resources, emphasizing our veterans.
“I think we are still in an epidemic regarding mental health challenges,” says Brook. “We as a community have to break that stigma. We lost seventeen souls a few years ago in the tragedy, we lost two more teenagers a year and a month after to suicide because of the tragedy, and now we’re experiencing a pandemic where many people are experiencing anxiety and depression for the first time, and where many people are experiencing exacerbated mental health issues.”
According to Brook, this upcoming event is personal. He recounts losing his mother to suicide at twenty-three and details the impact he and his sisters suffered.
The showcase will feature celebrity-signed portraits, including Anthony Rizzo and Jeff Conine. In the past, Joseph Gormley has live painted celebrities such as Stephen Tyler, Magic Johnson, and Shaq.
The Art to Wellbeing:
An Art Showcase to Benefit Mental Health will take place
on Thursday, September 23rd from 5-8:30 PM.
To learn more, please visit www.facebook.com/JosephGormleyArt