Apparel with poet’s image a boon for Greenfield business

  • Silver Screen Design owner Cheryl Termo with images of poet Amanda Gorman by Ashfield artist Gayle Kabaker. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Juan Vera and Jamie Spencer prep screens at Silver Screen Design on Wells Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Images of poet Amanda Gorman by Ashfield artist Gayle Kabaker at Silver Screen Design on Wells Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Storm Cindir does a logo embroidery at Silver Screen Design on Wells Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/26/2021 4:57:37 PM

GREENFIELD — Gayle Kabaker was stepping onto a Washington, D.C., hotel elevator three years ago when she saw a stunning young Black woman wearing a gorgeous pink dress. They were in the nation’s capital for the same event — an art exhibit in conjunction with the annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards.

The young woman, Kabaker said, was there to recite a poem for the occasion, and did so eloquently. And, by now, you’re likely familiar with National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, who recently gained national fame for reciting her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Kabaker, a freelance illustrator, writer and visual storyteller, has painted portraits for Vital Voices, a nonprofit that fights for female empowerment, and was recently asked to make one of Gorman’s likeness to be printed onto apparel. The Ashfield resident used a screenshot of Gorman speaking at the inauguration as inspiration for the illustration, which includes “THERE IS ALWAYS LIGHT” underneath Gorman’s image, which she got permission from Gorman to use. A quick turnaround was needed, so Kabaker turned to Cheryl Termo, who owns Silver Screen Design at 324 Wells St. in Greenfield.

“It was such positive messaging,” Termo said of Gorman’s poem, adding that it was especially poignant after the Jan. 6 violent insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud, both following a year ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Here she comes with this message of light, and I was just super proud to be a part of it.”

A portion of the proceeds are returned to Vital Voices. The apparel is available to order at bit.ly/3cgKSKY. The back of some of the items is embroidered with “Team Amanda 01 Vital Voice.” This is a reference to Gorman reading another original poem before the start of Super Bowl LV. Termo said she loved the blend of “beer, chicken wings and poetry at the Super Bowl.”

She also said the Vital Voices order was a huge relief for her company during these difficult times.

“We’re a small business and got hit very hard because so much of your business is event-oriented. Over 40 years, I’ve had to reinvent the company many times, but nothing like this,” she said. “Not only was the project very appealing because of its messaging, but also it was a lifeline for us. And because of that we were able to bring back several local employees. It was just the perfect storm, in a positive way.”

Termo said she normally employs 17 workers, though she forged through 2020 with a skeleton crew. She is now up to nine full-timers, with the balance still part-time.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com.




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