2024 Gratitude Postcard Series

For the second year in a row, the Northampton Survival Center collaborated with local artists to create a set of postcards designed exclusively for the Center.

The twelve postcards featuring healthy food were designed by a diverse group of artists representing a number of artistic styles. (Read more about each artist below!) The postcards were developed as a way to say thank you to members of the Bread & Butter Club, a group of supporters who make automatic, recurring gifts to the Center on a monthly (or weekly) basis. The Bread & Butter Club provides a steady, reliable source of funding ensuring that the Center can fulfil its mission of providing food and other resources to low-income individuals and families throughout Hampshire County.

Want your own set of postcards? Join our Bread & Butter Club by visiting northamptonsurvival.org/breadandbutter. You’ll make a difference in the lives of local folks and receive a set of beautiful locally-created postcards!

Shawn McManus

Shawn McManus volunteered regularly with the Center for eight years until the pandemic hit. Shawn tells us he feels lucky to do what he loves for a living: tell stories with pictures! Most of his work is as an artist for comic books (primarily with DC Comics), though he also works in animation, theme park design, and a variety of book illustration. Shawn also enjoys making original music and watching episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Mr. Inbetween. Life is good!

Check out Shawn’s website: shawnmcmanus.net.

Mary Cleary

Mary Cleary is an artist working in watercolor, ink, and digital media. She produces inspiring work for organizations focused on children and families. A common thread through her career as an artist, educator, author, and advocate is community. Her passion for children’s literature, connection, and education come through in her joyful illustrations.

Mary studied art history and teaching at the University of Massachusetts, Chinese at Shaanxi Teacher’s University in China, and illustration and graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Mary’s work can be seen at her website mary-cleary.com and on Instagram at @marycleary.


Yanni Kounellis

Yanni is a former client of the Northampton Survival Center. His work includes pen and ink, paint, and other mediums.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Jarrett J. Krosoczka, known since boyhood as “JJK,” is the New York Times bestselling author/illustrator behind more than forty books for young readers, including his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, select volumes of the Star Wars™: Jedi Academy series, and Hey, Kiddo, which was a National Book Award Finalist. Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores over the past twenty years.

In addition to his work in print, Krosoczka produced, directed, and performed in the full-cast audiobook adaptations of his graphic novels. Realizing that his books can inspire young readers beyond the page, Krosoczka founded School Lunch Hero Day, a national campaign celebrating school lunch staff.

Find Jarrett online at studiojjk.com and on Instagram @studiojjk.

Martha Brouwer

Martha Brouwer got her bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University and her masters degree from Harvard University. She was a weaver for four years before becoming a graphic artist and was the Art Director of four publications including Spa, Simply Seafood and Seafood Leader magazines. During the past twenty three years she has devoted herself to painting—primarily acrylics but also mixed media using collage. In 2014, she moved to the Pioneer Valley to be closer to family. She enjoys the painter friends she has met there and continues to paint every day.

In her recent work, Martha plays to her strengths of color and texture. The majority of each piece is a rich surface of textured paint that creates a background for the colorful much smaller main focus. The composition of “a lot” and “a little” works well to establish a mood for each piece.

See Martha’s work at marthabrouwer.com and on Instagram @marthabrouwerart.

Michael Valade

Michael Valade is a self-taught Cartoonist and illustrator from Springfield, Massachusetts. Growing up interested in black-and-white comics and manga, his influences are varied and abundant. From Drew Hayes’ (Poison Elves) brutal honesty and James O’Barr’s (The Crow) raw emotion to Katsuhiro Otomo’s (AKIRA) epic storytelling and the fierce imagination of Moebius (The Incal). Their ability to put themselves into their work and create unique worlds of their own was the foundation of a lifelong love of the medium. Armed with his graphomania, Valade brings a style that is honest, evocative, emotional, and more recently, fun! He currently draws a comic called “The Little Things” that will be collected in print this March.

Website: theivorybunny.com/valade
Instagram: @Valade_Cartoonist
Newsletter: theivorybunny.com/newsletter

Bella LaMontagne

Bella is an analog collage artist based in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. She is a finalist in the 9th edition of the Boynes Artist Award: Young Artist Category. Her art and process are based around recycling words and images to place them in new, imaginative contexts. Through the medium of collage Bella reflects on our relationship with the natural world, using art to build awareness that speaks to the importance of coexisting with Nature rather than seeking to separate ourselves from it. Her work has been published in multiple publications including, the Indianapolis Review, the Santa Clara Review, Photosynthesis Magazine, and Contemporary Collage Magazine, as well as having her work exhibited both regionally and internationally. Once a month Bella hosts a collage club at Looky Here in Greenfield, MA where individuals gather together to enjoy and experiment with collage.

Find Bella on instagram @bella_lamontagne_

Blanche Cybele Derby

Blanche Cybele Derby of Northampton, MA is a retired art/photography teacher who incorporates plant imagery into her art. A supporter of the Northampton Survival Center, Blanche was excited to create a postcard for the Center as she’d already done many plant based illustrations for the garden magazine GreenPrints. Her color pencil drawing “Healthy Foods Mandala” featured on the postcard included cultivated plants but also a few found in the wild (like mulberries and hazelnuts). Blanche has been foraging for so-called weeds since she was in her teens (a long time ago!) and these foods are an important part of her diet– but of course she appreciates cultivated plants as well and was pleased to include them in her postcard.

Blanche has explored many forms of 2-D art—which is usually realistic, often with a whimsical twist: linocuts, silkscreens, fabric designs, publicity posters, photography, and most recently video production. Her art has been shown at the D’Amour Museum of Art, Forbes Library, and Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. She’s also written/illustrated three books on wild plants (including recipes) and produced three hour-long films. As a volunteer at the Smith Botanic Garden, she continues teaching various groups including horticultural classes and leads weed walks around the Pioneer Valley.

Find Blanche on YouTube, Instagram @blanche.derby, and facebook.com/wildweedwoman.

Youme Nguyen Ly

Youme writes and illustrates for all ages. She has taught community mural painting, art making, and poetry for many years around the country and around the world. Her books include Selavi, That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope, Mali Under the Night Sky: A Lao Story of Home, and Pitch Black (Don’t Be Skerd) with Anthony Horton, a collaboration which takes place under the city of New York.

Self/Life/Family/community taught, Youme celebrates the connections world stories can make. Current projects include working with the Fair Food Movement to create a picture book which helps us see the importance of farmworkers and our individual connections to the food we share!

You is available to make social justice artwork at any scale from cards and posters to murals and picture books. Find her online at youmeland.org.

Jen Jabaily-Blackburn

Jen Jabaily-Blackburn is a poet and self-taught artist whose recent work has expanded into the realms of blackout and collage. Currently, she is at work on a series of mixed-media blackout and collage poems, hem, drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and she’s led community blackout and collage programs at the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College for the last three years. She invites you to drop in to the Center to try your own!

Jen’s first book of poems, Girl in a Bear Suit, was selected by Christopher Citro as winner of the 2023 Elixir Press Annual Poetry Prize and will be released in April 2024.

Originally from the Boston area, Jen now lives in Western Massachusetts with her family. She is the Program & Outreach coordinator for the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College. Find  her online at jenjabailyblackburn.com and Instagram @jenjblackburn.

Meg Zaremba

Ever since she could hold a crayon, Meg Zaremba has been eating them. Well, creating art mostly, but who could blame a toddler for sampling the medium? She’s continued her artistic journey well into her adulthood, earning a degree in fine and performing arts, a certificate in illustration, and a life-long curiosity for learning and making.

Inspired daily by working at the renowned R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Meg aims to one day be a published children’s book illustrator. She’s also known to have dabbled as a scenic painter and carpenter for theatre, jewelry maker and teacher, latte artist, and bookseller. She is proud to have been selected as one of the artists for the Northampton Survival Center’s postcard project.

(Although it can no longer be recommended, she maintains that Wild Strawberry is the best tasting crayon in the pack.)

Find Meg at megzaremba.com and Instagram @megzaremba.

Robin Griffith

The best way to describe Robin as an artist is as a seeker. When she is creating art she follows her intuition and intellect to find the story of a given piece. The purpose of her work is to have the viewer see art in everything. Artistic desire and expression has always been part of her and the main way she express her artistic vision is through photography and mix media paintings. Robin uses their iPhone to take pictures and the subject matter for many of her photographs consist of picture in nature and/or of objects and structures. She is very interested in capturing pictures which have textures, and bold colors. This same principle applies to her paintings and mix media work; many of her paintings have bold colors intermixed with collage, stencil work, and often elements of her photography.

Robin has not had any formal training as an artist. Much of what she has learned has been self-taught by experimenting with different art mediums and taking an art course on mixed media. She enjoy creating art that is spontaneous and organic in nature. She strives to create art with shapes, colors and objects that viewers can experience in a new and different way. Her current work focus on pieces that are centered around women of color. Once she started working on her WOC pieces she was moved to create works with messages which amplify the voices of marginalized groups. Robin strives to create work that is outside what is and what things can be.

Robin currently reside in Northampton in western Massachusetts with her wife Miriam, children Ell, Lily, and dog Leo. Living in Western Massachusetts has given her the perfect environment to create her work and grow as an artist. Find Robin on Instagram @robing.photoart and Facebook.