Estrellita Karsh with her Project 351 students © Mike Casey
Project 351 is a youth service nonprofit organization that develops a rising generation of “community-first” citizen leaders. Founded by Governor Deval Patrick in 2011 and now convened by Governor Charlie Baker, Project 351 fosters unity and strengthens the ethic of service through the engagement and enrichment of an 8th grade Ambassador from every city and town in Massachusetts.
Estrellita Karsh was recognized as a Service Hero for the 2017 Class at Project 351’s Annual Launch and Service Day, which is held each year on the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Carolyn Casey runs the organization on behalf of the Governor, and introduced Mrs. Karsh:
“The 19th century Russian author Maxim Gorky wrote: “The good qualities in our soul are most successfully and forcefully awakened by the power of art.”
“Estrellita Karsh has nourished and inspired thousands of souls in the United States and Canada through her cultural philanthropy. As wife and partner to her beloved husband, Yousuf Karsh, Mrs. Karsh bore witness to his brilliant artistry as the 20th century’s most sough-after portrait photographer. Mr. Karsh photographed every pop and American president during his lifetime – from Hoover to Clinton; and legions of prominent global citizens including Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Dr. King, and Mother Teresa. With each portrait, Mr. Karsh elevated the humanity of his subjects – inviting connection, contemplation, and compassion. Mrs. Karsh’s unique understanding of the powerful relationship between art and observer inspired her passion for art as a vehicle for healing. With visions both bold and beautiful, she has helped transform hospitals and health centers in two countries, including the “Bridge of Hope” mural project that connects Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Center. Today, because of Estrellita Karsh, thousands of patients travel a 200 foot passageway surrounded by a mural of brilliantly painted birds. Each singing a song of hope, encouraging every step as a journey toward healing and lifting each heart with the beauty of one woman’s vision.”
Mrs. Karsh’s team went off from Launch Day to do work at an elementary school in Boston. All the children go back to their local communities to continue their work locally, and then they will all reconvene in May at Gillette Stadium for a program-end celebration.