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April 2002Vol. 3, No. 3Unique Photography Exhibit in New Mexico Promotes Adoption and Foster Parenting

A creative approach to a standard process has resulted in national exposure, motivation, and inspiration. The Heart Gallery exhibit presents professional photographs that capture the character and essence of many children who are available for adoption in the State of New Mexico.

Photographs of the children available for adoption were needed for a magazine produced by the State, and Ellie Ortiz, advertising and promotions director for the State of New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families department, thought the pictures should be in a gallery. A few phone calls and connections later produced the Heart Gallery exhibit, an exhibit that debuted last March in Santa Fe and has traveled throughout the State.

The children were given the option to have their pictures used; approximately 45 percent of the children available for adoption were in the exhibit. Local and national photographers donated their time and talent to the project; film, processing, frames, and gallery space were also donated. Promotion and coverage of the exhibit ranged from a local television morning show and local newspapers to an Associated Press reporter picking up the story as well as being featured in Camera Arts magazine.

The exhibit appeared in Albuquerque, Raton, Socorro, and Taos. The exhibit not only promoted adoptive and foster parenting, but it also led to inquiries regarding the next steps to be taken in the adoption process. More than 1,000 people attended the exhibit, resulting in 11 adoptions and 56 adoption inquiries; one of the photographed children is in the process of being adopted by her photographer. The exhibit has sparked the interest of organizations in Oklahoma and Rhode Island to have similar events, and the Santa Fe gallery owner wants to host exhibits at his galleries in Dallas and New York City.

The children will be formally presented with their portraits prior to the unveiling of a new collection, titled Heart Gallery 2, which opens in Santa Fe this September.

To view some of the children from the Heart Gallery exhibit, visit the New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department website ( and click on the "special events" link.

For more information about the Heart Gallery exhibit, contact:

Ellie Ortiz, Advertising and Promotions Manager
State of New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department
1031 Lamberton Place NE
Albuquerque NM 87107
Phone: 505-841-7919