Expansion of the Heartisan Community


I met Antonio, this summer when he came out to shoot a fundraising video for Seven Seeds Farm where I was working this past year. Now a couple months later, by some wonderful twists of fate, I’m working for Heartisan Films and find myself back in the editing room. Life is strange and beautiful…

Right out of the gate I was assigned a soul resonating project. Antonio and Abram, the founders of the Heartisan Foundation, needed a short promotional video for one of the non-profit’s projects “The Truth Be Told Podcast’ and it was assigned to me. As I started going through the footage, I was kind of taken aback. Here was Abram, in the middle of a class of nine and ten year old kids, asking them in a straightforward and unassuming manner, “What is your vision of peace?” It struck me. What a terrific question to be asking kids. What a terrific question to be asking anyone. Are these type of questions really being asked in our schools enough? Or frankly in our world in general?

As I’ve gotten to know Abram personally and witness more of his interactions with students, I’ve realized these moments are common. He has a way of asking the questions that, left unseen or unasked by most people, strike right to the heart of what it means to be human. He isn’t afraid to ask them to kids of any age. He has deep respect for the clear and unabashed wisdom of his students. It’s this respect that sets the tone for his classes. In this encouraging and respectful space, the students can feel safe expressing themselves in ways they never imagined. They also learn to listen, witness, and respect others as they share their own stories. From these heart-centered exchanges, really deep healing takes place.

This is what more kids need in education. With dwindling arts classes and more of an emphasis on teaching for standardized testing, kids are starving for ways to express themselves, maybe without even knowing it. When I heard Abram and Antonio were teaming up to create The Heartisan Foundation, whose tag line is “Youth Advocacy and Empowerment”, I was ecstatic.

The Heartisan Foundation is a non-profit 501c3, the vision is “A society of story-tellers, stewards, and community-builders, working together to empower young people”, will be an injection of creative energy and arts into the area and a continuation of the work both Abram and Antonio have already been doing. Kids will have the opportunity to take heart opening classes and participate in projects like ‘Truth Be Told,’ or “Kid Wisdom”.

Under Antonio’s tutelage and the guidance of other professional filmmakers, kids can also learn real technical skills in the art of photography, video production, lighting and editing using the industry’s newest technologies. The Heartisan Foundation will then empower kids to take their skills out into the greater community. Guided by the Foundation, students can make commercials or manage social media for local businesses.They can direct and produce their own documentary films. They could write articles for the local newspaper or stories to be published in children’s writing journals. No doubt the Heartisan Foundation will be a launching point for many future filmmakers, writers, and creative thinkers and a model for other communities to follow. The possibilities are only limited by our ability to dream them.

Like ‘Truth Be Told’, the Heartisan Foundation will embody a culture of encouragement, expression, and possibility, no matter what the path of the student. It will provide a space where a question like “what is your vision of peace?” will be commonplace in the fabric and energy of the community. It will ask its students, what is your story and truly care to hear about it. We all have a story, after all. One that is completely unique to who we are. If we learn to appreciate our own story and see it on the level of the sacred than we can begin to respect ourselves and, in turn, respect others. In these profound exchanges between souls, we learn perhaps one of the most important lessons: that we aren’t so different from others, in our joys and triumphs as well as our shortcomings and insecurities. What could be more vital in this increasingly separating and dissociative world? Our kids are the future. If they truly know peace, love and respect and have the courage to express themselves than our world will know peace, love and respect. This, I guess, is my vision of peace and I believe organizations like The Heartisan Foundation are bringing us one step closer to manifesting it. A deep thank you to those out there who are already doing this type of work and I encourage others to please help support projects like this. Our kids depend on it.