He added that the artwork he donated to the Family and Children's Service of the Capital Region illustrates the various points that the organization strives for in improving the lives of families in the Capital District.
"As a sculptor, I already know what I'm going to put down on paper," said Maffei. "Like when I am using lava stone, it's very hard, and I look at the stone and I already know what's going to come out of that shell. You must be able to visualize what's going to happen."
The Social Art Gallery is being billed by the center as "an exciting and unique local gallery that will feature artists from the Capital Region and around the world, brings together the worlds of specialized family and individual counseling services with the arts to promote the concept of 'healing through the arts.'"
The gallery will feature sculpture, paintings and photography exhibits that promote these family and healing related themes.
The grand opening exhibit is a family-themed event featuring local Italian cuisine and the works of Maffei, who is from Sicily and is a well-known Italian artist in Europe. The event is co-sponsored by the Laziali Nel Mondo Association and Albany's Italian American Community Center.
Pickett invited many guests, including Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings, Albany County Executive Michael Breslin, Senator Neil Breslin, local assembly members and other elected officials and community leaders, as well as representatives from IBM and other corporate supporters.
Paul Tonko, 21st Congressional District candidate, also spoke at the event. Bethlehem councilmen Kyle Kotary and Sam Messina are both board members of FCSCD.
"Family and Children Services are already known as the oldest family service organization service around," Kotary said. "Now they want people to know that they're the best, too."
Maffei, who says he loves movies and classical music as much as art, said coming to America to show off his work for the first time has allowed him to live out his own American Dream.
"They say when an artist creates a painting," Maffei said, "he is writing poetry."
The Family and Children's Service of the Capital Region, Inc., was founded in 1813 and is located at 650 Warren Street in Albany, which is directly behind The Hibernian Center on Ontario Street. Maffei's artwork will be on display throughout the fall.