Portraits of Hope Asked to Participate in Nation’s 250th Anniversary


More than 10,000 people participated in painting the colorful balls that floated on MacArthur Lake.

Palisades resident Ed Massey and his brother Bernie received a May 30 letter from the National Park Service, National Mall and Memorial Parks (NAMA), asking to partner with Portraits of Hope (POH) for artwork for the 250th anniversary of America’s Independence in 2026.

The letter to the Massey’s stated, “We appreciate the expertise and vision demonstrated by POH in curating and organizing public art exhibitions.

“As a once-in-a-lifetime event, the NPS will host a temporary artwork exhibition with POH at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to highlight the semiquincentennial commemoration themes.”

The Masseys, whose public installation artwork includes large colorful flowers, have created more than 15 public art projects that includes paintings placed on planes, taxis, lifeguard towers, inside animal shelters, giant spheres on the water and even in the Palisade 4th of July Parade. One can even see the art from the Palisades High School football stadium, where large colorful objects hang from the trees in Massey’s yard.

The nonprofit POH was co-founded in 1995 as a creative art-therapy program for children in pediatric facilities. The brothers developed special paint brushes and painting methods, such as telescope paint brushes for children and adults in wheelchairs or attached to IVs; shoe brushes (U.S. Patent) for children and adults with injured upper limbs or who cannot manipulate a brush with their hands; and flavored mouth brushes for those with limited or no movement in their arms and legs.

Ed, graduated from the UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1987 and received a master’s degree in fine art in 1990 at Columbia University. https://www.edmassey.com/

The brothers use Ed’s artistic talents and Bernie’s background in the development of public policy to create massive art installations across the country.

Many may remember the large balls set afloat on MacArthur Park Lake in 2015. POH participants painted up to 7,000 spheres that were rotated every week.

Then Bernie said, “We’re quite certain we’ll hit over 10,000 people that have worked on this project — people that have actually painted, went to education sessions, worked with the schools, or are helping with technical elements.”

At the end of their one-month installation, the spheres were donated to social services around the country to beautify senior centers, women’s shelters, schools and hospitals.

The brothers’ mission with the art is to give kids a chance to shine in a public arena and then provide opportunities for adults to help make that possible.

After receiving the letter from the Park Service, the Masseys said that the project for the 250th Nation’s anniversary will involve youth from all 50 states; have thousands of hand-painted, floating artwork on the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting pool for four weeks; and use renewable energy because each floating artwork will glow from within as the sun sets.

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