In 2001, the first Heart Gallery was organized in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The idea was simple: To have talented photographers create inspiring portraits of children who were waiting for adoption. By sharing the portraits in the community, founder Diane Granito hoped to build awareness and create more opportunities for adoption. The first Heart Gallery exhibit was an exciting success, attracting more than 1,200 visitors and initiating the adoption of six waiting children.
Just one year later, adoptive parent and lifelong photographer Gay Larson founded the Waiting Child Heart Gallery of Oklahoma. It was the second Heart Gallery in the nation, and today it is one of more than 80 across the United States.
Through its online gallery, traveling exhibit and partnerships with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, KTUL-Channel 8 and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Oklahoma Heart Gallery has helped find forever families for many Oklahoma children.
The mission of the Oklahoma Heart Gallery is to use the power of photography to raise awareness, inspire communities and recruit adoptive families for Oklahoma’s waiting children.
In 2016, the Waiting Child Heart Gallery of Oklahoma was renamed as the Oklahoma Heart Gallery. Despite the name change, the Heart Gallery’s connection to KTUL’s Waiting Child program is stronger than ever.