Big heart, healing art

"I found out who I am through this process. It was like a purging," said Friedson. "I was amazed that when I brought a few of my first paintings to school, that when other teachers saw them, that they felt the same way I did and I wasn't alone."

After that initial reaction, Friedson created a booklet of prints of her paintings and showed them to Dianne Zack, the owner of Symmetry Gallery in Saratoga Springs, who she has worked with for more than 20 years.

"She came to us and asked if we wanted to be involved," said Zack. "After the first few pages I knew it was a great idea to get involved in. The images and thoughts are heartfelt and are easily transferrable from one person to another."

The gallery sells Friedson's original paintings, prints and book.

"Through her artwork, Deb really has a great ability to communicate on a level that most of us don't on a day-to-day basis," said Zack. "I feel very honored and grateful to work with her on the project. I have been very grateful to see the project bloom over the years."

Since, 2006, Friedson has created and published a book of prints of the paintings she created with the help of local printmakers Camelot Copy Center and Vincy's Printing. On her fourth printing, her books are donated to charitable causes throughout the Capital District and a percentage of the profits goes toward the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which has also auctioned off original pieces that Friedson has donated to their charity.

"Deb has been involved in the society for a long time. Not only does she donate time to the community but also allows us to sell her book online," said Director of Special Events for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Northeastern New York Nicole Spath.

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