The Foundling is excited to partner with Agora Gallery artist Christiane Palpant this spring. Christiane’s painting, The Journey Aglow, will be featured on the label of this year’s exclusive Foundling Rosé, and a portion of the proceeds from her current gallery exhibition will go directly to supporting The Foundling’s work.
Christiane is captivated by the natural world – particularly skies, clouds, and horizons – and her landscape paintings illustrate and evoke gratitude, resilience, and beauty. Like many of those in our Foundling community, Christiane’s life has been a winding journey.
She discovered painting as a healing outlet while on bed rest for nearly a year, and recently quit her lifelong career in financial services to devote her life to her art. This month, she is setting out in a modified van (which she’s named Millicent) on a 25-week cross-country journey to paint in all 50 states and further pursue her creative ambitions.
In the interview below, Christiane discusses her artistic career, the painting featured on our 2022 Rosé, and her connections to The Foundling’s work supporting children, adults, and families in reaching their full potential:
You’ve had an interesting journey in becoming an artist – one that shows a lot of inner strength and required a lot of bold choices. Can you share a little about this trajectory?
It has occurred to me that I approached my healing journey from both a left brain and right brain perspective. In left brained fashion, once I realized that my healing journey was a marathon, I constructed a spreadsheet with daily mini-goals and milestones. But my right brain kicked in when I asked myself what I could do while on bedrest in order to keep myself mentally strong. Picking up the paintbrush was my answer and I attacked it with great passion painting sixty works that first year. Nonetheless, healing was still a difficult and arduous process, but I am filled with gratitude for family, friends, and faith. There were several powerful conversations that helped guide difficult life decisions. I’ll never forget when one friend shared, “Healing is not linear.” Understanding that better has helped me to embrace the ebbs and flows of both the healing journey and creative process.
During your upcoming travels, you plan to interview women across the country that have made major life changes after experiencing trauma or dramatic events. This has a parallel with many of our Foundling participants, who often draw on the challenges they’ve overcome when transforming their lives. What draws you to these stories in others? Can you share the goal of this project?
Along with painting in all 50 states, one of the missions of my Millicent van journey is to capture the courageous stories of the women whose voices haven’t been heard. Just like the clients of The Foundling, these women have not only transformed their own lives, but often have made a very positive impact on those around them. These poignant journeys knit the souls of our communities. Capturing these experiences is especially interesting to me because of my own encounter with a near death experience followed by more than a year on bed rest. I know how difficult it was to continuously take one figurative step after another and make daily bold decisions that changed the trajectory of my life. I believe many people can identify with pivotal moments in life and will be eager to hear of other compelling journeys.
Can you share a bit about the painting that will be featured on the Foundling’s 2022 Rosé – The Journey Aglow?
The painting, The Journey Aglow, is very special to me. I painted it after spending a week with a dear friend who has three children from the foster care system. This painting gives the feeling of being on a journey with someone special, cresting a precipice and gasping in wonder at the view. The heavens are aglow, and it is a beautiful respite after so many trying moments. Scenes like these bring moments of gratitude for the soul, refreshment, and interconnection.
Your exhibition at Agora Gallery is called “Interconnection and Intuition.” As our wine is called “We are Intertwined,” we feel there’s some symmetry here! What does the word ‘Interconnection’ mean to you? How do the paintings in the exhibition demonstrate this?
My paintings featured in Agora Gallery’s “Interconnection and Intuition” exhibition were painted during the global COVID-19 pandemic. It was a poignant time during which human connection became sacred, revered, and sought after in safe settings. The titles of my pieces tie to my feelings during the painting process. The viewer can capture the sentiment with titles such as Calm Amidst the Chaos and descriptions of Resilience, Contentment, and Respite.
The words ‘Intertwined’ and ‘Interconnection’ are also the perfect description for my upcoming Millicent van art journey through all 50 states. In my previous financial services career, I traveled extensively across the US. As a result, I am planning to connect on my travel route with dear friends and family in 47 of the 50 states. I can imagine there will be many new friends that will unfold during this powerful and creative experience.
What is your personal connection with The Foundling’s mission and values?
My close friend and former college roommate fostered three children and ultimately adopted them a couple of years ago. I’ve been actively engaged in their lives the past decade and I’ve watched the positive impact on these beautiful, vulnerable lives. (The children on their own started calling me ‘Dad’. I think it’s hilarious and touching.) Additionally, I teach at Georgia State University and this year I have mentored a young lady who came from the foster care system. She is a special lady and even at her young age has aspirational dreams of owning her own business. Because of these powerful personal experiences, The Foundling’s mission is near and dear to my heart.
What are your goals for the future?
For the past two decades I have kept my goals listed on a spreadsheet. (This is my left-brain kicking in.) While on bedrest for more than a year I created goals for 7 specific areas of pursuit: art, teaching, writing, speaking, consulting, media, and travel. My project with The Foundling, Agora Gallery, and City Winery is on the right path for accomplishing the goals I’ve listed. The 50-state Millicent trip also is the trajectory I have envisioned. As Thoreau said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined.” I look forward to future meaningful projects with The Foundling and Agora Gallery.
Christiane’s work, including The Journey Aglow, is on view at Agora Gallery – her exhibition, “Interconnection and Intuition,” runs from March 1-22, 2022. Learn more here (10% of all sales from the exhibition will be donated to The Foundling. Christiane will also be donating a portion of the proceeds from the art she sells on her 25-week cross-country trip to The Foundling.)
The 2022 limited edition of We are Intertwined, The Foundling’s exclusive Rosé produced annually in partnership with City Winery, will be available exclusively from April to June as well as featured in local New York City restaurants. The wine is available for pre-order now, with a percentage of each sale going directly to support our work! This 2020 Rosé of Pinot Noir is refreshing and crisp, with hints of clementine and strawberry. Learn more and place an order!