About Face Charlotte | Our Team
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team

Scott Gardner

Photographer, etc;
Scott's Website

Scott's Story

I graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, followed by a BFA in cinematography from the North Carolina School of the Arts. I work shooting television shows for Discovery, National Geographic, History Channel, and Animal Planet. I also have an ongoing photography project with my brother called Finding Silence, which documents the role silence, meditation, and prayer play in ancient global spiritual traditions.

My whole life I’ve been looking for something.

I’ve looked for it in many ways. Trying to express myself through art, making money, chasing after love, seeking the praise of others…

But something was always missing.

I’ve always read and been inspired by the great wisdom teachers. Jesus. Buddha. Patanjali. Shams of Tabriz. Pema Chodron. Hafiz. Thomas Merton. They all spoke to that thing I was searching for. But for some reason it always took a back seat to my own desires, my own fears, my own restless searching. I just kept running around, looking for something out there.

I think the answer is right here, right now.

For me, that means service. It means doing what my teachers have been saying for so, so long. Serve others. Fill my heart with love and offer myself up for the good of all. Get down on my damn knees and wash the feet of the least of us. Let go of me and mine, and find we and ours.

It ain’t easy. I get so caught up in my own life and my own small struggles that I don’t see all the people around me who are struggling with burdens far greater than my own. I like to think I have a kind heart, but I find myself forgetting to care. I forget to love my neighbor and hold their well-being sacred. I forget that we are all divine children. I remember to be stressed about money, and I remember to fret over my appearance, but I forget to serve my fellow humans. I forget to tend the sick and suffering. I forget SO much.

 

So this project is my attempt to serve. My attempt to live a life of love and kindness 100% of the time. Right now I’m probably at 2%. But I’m trying to move the dial. 3% would be pretty sweet. Life is precious. And brief. I want mine to be well spent. My hope is that these photos and stories ring a bell inside you, and inspire you. Magical shit happens when we all get together.

Hannah Blanton

The Heartbeat
Hannah's Gallery

Hannah's Story

I graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After graduation, I worked in the Pediatric ICU at Carolinas HealthCare System. I’ve been married to my best friend, Charles, for 20 years and we have three amazing children. Things were absolutely going my way, until suddenly they weren’t.

In 2003 I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and was completely paralyzed from my chest down. I had to learn to walk, talk, and eat again. I could have looked at this time as a dark period, but I chose to consider it my ‘awakening’ time.

I truly believe that God has a reason and a season for everything. Through my recovery, I was introduced to and eventually embraced my love of yoga. In 2013 I received my yoga teacher certification from Y2 Yoga in Charlotte. I love every minute of teaching yoga and have had the privilege of teaching patients and families at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital. Through my work at Hemby, friends and I started an art program called Grier’s Gallery. Grier’s Gallery is a non-profit organization that provides monthly art programming and provides volunteer artists to create art and memories with the young patients. Grier’s Gallery is named after a dear sweet friend who lost his battle to cancer in 2013 at the age of 9.

Through various fundraising events I was privileged to be a part of, in 2013 I became the owner of an art gallery in uptown Charlotte I named Sozo Gallery. Sozo means ‘to be healed by God’ in Greek, and to my surprise in Japanese it means ‘creative and artistic.’

There have been many chapters to my story, but one of the most inspirational and transformational chapters began six years ago. By chance, fate, but I prefer divine intervention, I befriended a homeless woman who inspires me in ways I never thought imaginable. I have grown to love her, to worry about her, to help clothe her, to buy her art supplies, and to beat my head against the wall because I don’t think I do enough for her. She is one of the biggest influences in my life, and she has given me more than I could ever give her. She’s cursed me out on the streets and left me broken hearted, and the very next day she has come with a smile on her face and presented me with tomatoes and watermelons from her garden. I know I can’t ‘fix’ her or our system for dealing with homeless and people in extreme poverty overnight, but I can be her friend. I can take baby steps in building more compassion, trust, and love between her and I, and those in need of being ‘seen’.

Through my own suffering and recovery process, I became enlightened and began to dig a bit deeper in all aspects of my life and my interactions with others. I strive to shine some positive light and encourage my friends and my children to do the same. We all have different gifts…God-given gifts. Wouldn’t it be great if each of us used our gifts to help others and brighten our community? What a beautiful day that would be.

Dana Endsley

The Wizard
Dana's Website

Dana's Story

A wise teacher once told me, “Find what breaks your heart and then commit to working with that”.  As I went through the list of things that break my heart it became clear very quickly that the common thread was a lack of connection.  Lack of connection with self, others, spirit, the earth. Everything that broke my heart could be traced back to one of these.  That realization lead me to a life long commitment to use my creative energy and artistic expression to find ways to create community, guide people to go deeper within themselves, and bring greater understanding to causes for social justice, religious tolerance and environmental concerns.

As I connect the dots in my life, I can see how every moment has lead me to where I am now.  The joys and heartaches of raising a family, the 30 years working in the healing arts, directing programs for persons with disabilities, having a private bodywork practice, completing documentary film school at Duke, a mystical experience in Paris,  every spiritual teacher and art mentor,  have been nudging and sometimes pushing me to fully step into the next phase of my life.

Through “Art for a Better Planet” my umbrella for my painting, filmmaking, workshops and community events, I am able to develop ways to bring people into a deeper sense of connection.  One of the most powerful vehicles I have found to develop connection is through story.  Whether I am working in paint, paper or video I am passionate about telling the stories of everyday people that need to be told.

I am honored and thrilled that this passion has connected me with About Face Charlotte and that Scott and Hannah have welcomed me to come work and play with them!

BEHIND THE SCENES TEAM

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Loren Neus

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Lynn Hughes

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Ali Kraus-Flowers

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Johnna Smith

I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion-and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.

Ram Dass

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