About Face Charlotte | Who we are
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WHO WE ARE


AboutFace CLT is a team of people from diverse backgrounds and belief systems who have come together to offer our gifts in service to the people of our city. ALL the people of our city. We don’t discriminate based on race, gender, politics, religion, financial status, sports team preference, Coke vs Pepsi, or any other measure. Compassion for All.


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Hannah Blanton

Founder, Outreach Lead

 

Hannah Blanton is the co-founder of About Face CLT and the owner and director of Sozo Gallery in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Hannah founded and chairs the Charlotte Uptown Crawl, providing free art experiences for our community once a month. She also founded Grier’s Gallery, a non-profit foundation at Hemby Children’s hospital providing art and arts education for children and their families. Hannah is a certified yoga instructor and has taught children and families yoga and breath work at Hemby Children’s Hospital and currently teaches at Y2 yoga.

       
Hannah graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina with her B.S. in Nursing. Since working in uptown, she has become moved and personally involved with our homeless neighbors. Hannah is dedicated to promoting connection in communities and providing art experiences for everyone.  She challenges individuals to use their own personal gifts to build a community with greater compassion and connected-ness.
A personal message from Hannah
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 23 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 particular 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 walk beside her and be her friend. I can take baby steps in building more compassion, trust, and love between her and I, and others.
 
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.
 
 
Micah 6:8 
He has told you, O man, what is good; 

            And what does the Lord require of you 
            But to do justice, to love kindness, 
            And to walk humbly with your God.

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Susan Campbell Phd

Child Advocacy Lead

 

Dr. Susan Campbell is a clinical psychologist who has  worked for over 25 years in academic, medical, non-profit and private practice settings. Throughout her career, a primary focus has been on the development of practices and policies that improve the lives of children and families.
 
Susan’s deep expertise in interviewing, and listening for the threads that connect stories as people make meaning of their experiences, is an important component of our team approach. She is particularly interested in listening for sources and themes of resilience in stories.
 
Susan obtained her BA from Davidson College, and PhD from Georgia State University. In addition to her work with About Face, she maintains a private practice in Charlotte.
A personal message from Susan
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote,  “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” As a clinical psychologist, it’s been my incredible privilege over the past 30 years to bear witness as people share the stories of their lives. To be present. To listen without judgment. To communicate that what has happened to them matters because they matter.
 
I’ve interviewed adults, adolescents, and children as young as 4 years old about things that they’ve experienced. Creating an environment in which people feel a sense of safety, and hope that telling their story will help them in some way, is a sacred trust that I have worked hard to develop.
 
The vulnerability we engage in when we share our stories requires courage. We risk exposing our weaknesses, our failures, our shame. Many of the children I’ve worked with have had reason to believe they were risking their very lives by telling their stories. And what I’ve repeatedly observed is that sharing experiences, owning them, making meaning of them, is the path to redemption. To transformation. To regaining lost power and lighting a path forward.
 
If we approach our own stories, and those we are privileged to hear, with curiosity and generosity, we open the path to a wholehearted life that can be world-changing. We are more alike than different, and those commonalities are clear when we actually listen to each other. We all need to belong in a world rooted in and guided by love. Building compassion and resilience through story feels like my answer to Dr. King’s question.
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Dana Endsley

Programming Lead

 

Dana L. Endsley is an artist, filmmaker and workshop facilitator with a passion for sharing stories as a powerful way to build connection. Dana excels at designing experiences that bring individuals and creative process together to create a larger whole. She has extensive experience in creating and leading events for a group or community with the intention of bringing people into connection with each other, particularly around issues of social justice. She holds a BA in psychology, is a graduate of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and has over 30 years of professional experience combining art, the use of story and the healing arts.

 

A personal message from Dana

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: 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, 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 has been nudging and sometimes pushing me to fully step into the next phase of my life.

Through “Art for a Better Planet”, the umbrella company, 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.

www.afabp.com

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Scott Gardner

Founder, Creative Lead

 

Scott graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts with a degree in cinematography. He has shot and produced documentary television shows for National Geographic, Red Bull, ABC, Discovery Channel and more. He is also a photographer whose commercial work includes posters for films shown at the Cannes, Sundance, and Berlin film festivals. His fine art photography has been shown in galleries across the country and is in private and corporate collections. He has been a guest lecturer at both the college and high school level, and recently completed an artist in residency program at the McColl Center for Art+Innovation.

A personal message from Scott

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.

www.thegivingship.com

 

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FOUNDERS CIRCLE

Lynne Hughes

Ali Kraus-Flowers

Loren Neus

 

Johnna Smith

ADVISORY COUNCIL

Dianne Chipps-Bailey
Managing Director and the National Practice Executive for the National Consulting and Advisory Practice, Nonprofit Consulting Services team at U.S. Trust.
Hannah Levinson

Lahayim Cooperative

John Love

Artist, Guggenheim Fellow

Robert Mackey III

Financial Advisor @ Merrill Lynch, Founder of the Lydia W. Smith Foundation, former NFL linebacker

Father Ollie Rencher

Rector, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

Barry Sherman

Social Worker @ Bruns Academy, Leading on Opportunity Task Force

Tommy Tomlinson

Writer, Charlotte Observer, Pulitzer Finalist, WFAE…

Rosalia Torres-Weiner

Artist, activist, community leader

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