Niantic artist sends cards to strangers to lift spirits during the pandemic

Connecticut Families

NIANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — “I’d always made cards for my family and friends,” says artist Barbara Vento Furtak, explaining the unique way she’s send love in the mail.

At the start of the pandemic, she realized that lots of people needed a lift.

“When anybody needed a card, I would make a card and send it to them, if they lost a pet, if they were ill, if they needed a pick me up,” she says, noting that anyone, anywhere could get this thoughtful surprise. “There was a little girl I heard about who broke her leg, her mom was reaching out for cards.”

This mother of two adult sons hears about people word of mouth…so most recipients are strangers.

“That was the amazing thing. Connections were starting that I never really imagined would happen,” says Vento Furtak. “Whenever anyone would get one, the response I would get was unbelievable, what it would do for me, made me feel ten times better than the recipient ever felt getting it.”

Vento Furtak loved to sketch as a child. But, a certain animal helped rekindle her interest.

It’s Sophie, a service dog given to her son, after he returned from a stint in Iraq with the Army.

“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t doing artwork,” she says.

What started as a way to wile away the time during quarantine has become the 100 Day Art Challenge. Vento Furtak has made more than forty cards and won’t stop until she reaches her goal, spreading warmth with a simple gesture, filled with kindness and creativity.

“Giving something away without expecting something in return is a wonderful feeling,” she says.

News 8 learned of this challenge when Vento Furtak sent a card to Meteorologist Ashley Baylor after she talked about losing her cat, Chase, on the air.

The artist invites you to contact her on Instagram: @VentoFurtak. She’d love to send out more cards!

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