Key to the Stars

key to the stars watermarked copy 

This piece was created in March 2007 and framed prints were gifted to each new Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity homeowner in the two years that followed. The letter below accompanied the gift. 

“When I first became involved with Habitat for Humanity, I was overwhelmed with the lengthy, difficult journey that each partner family had traveled in reaching the point of purchasing their home.  I was also overwhelmed with the impact the new home would have on their lives – such a wonderful beginning of a dream with so much to follow.  I still am in awe of this process as I watch it unfold again and again – each time with a unique twist, but always with that familiar flavor of inspiration and accomplishment. 

I felt compelled to express this awe – my deep respect – in a meaningful way.  Something that could be offered as a gift to honor the achievement made and to embody the hope I held in my heart as the family moved into their new space and forward into a new life. The concept of creating artwork to give to Habitat partner families grew out of all of this. 

I just love color and art – admiring it, creating it, and filling my home with it.  I feel that the artwork and photos we display and the colors we choose help us turn our house into a home – our home filled with what we love and value.  The bright color scheme of the painting was intentional in an effort to do just that…bring color onto the white walls of the new Habitat house to begin to create a home. 

The artwork itself was something that I envisioned over time.  The ‘key to the stars’ image was meant to depict the enormous success the family has already reached for and unlocked and the hope that future blessings will continue to shine down upon them as a result.  Each partner family is unique in its makeup so it was difficult to choose one image to represent them.  After much consideration I chose a woman to be the key holder.  Many of our families are single mother based, but most others have a female involved who has been integral to the success of the family and of this outcome of buying a home.  I tried to make the woman as multicultural as possible to honor the variety of ethnicities represented in our partner families, i.e. Caucasian, African American, African, Burmese, etc.  The bottom line is that the person unlocking the stars was painted with the intent of capturing the essence of the families involved with one image as much as possible. 

I also want to make special note that the woman is grounded.  She’s in the forefront of the painting and solidly on the ground as is the home itself.  Nothing is floating in the air except for the stars which, after all, is where stars belong.  It may be a stretch to get that key in the lock, but it’s not out of reach.  That’s because these dreams are no longer a wish or a hope.  They are reality.  They have been reached.  They have been unlocked, opened up, and they are now spilling their goodness into what is to follow. 

From the depths of my heart I have put into art form the awe and respect I feel for all that has been overcome to reach for and unlock the dream of home ownership. My intent in offering this gift to Habitat partner families is to carry that accomplishment into their new house so that ongoing, colorful blessings will create a loving home in the years to come.  

With Warmest Regards, 

Ellen Sauer”

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