Bay Area Painter to Create Portraits for Charity

This press release was created in conjunction with Seamus Berkeley to publicize his most recent project, Portraits of Family House.

East Bay painter Seamus Berkeley has begun work on a project that will result in the creation of over two dozen portraits to be given to the Family House charity in San Francisco. The charity provides housing for families of children undergoing treatment at Benioff Children’s Hospital at UCSF. The portrait series, entitled Portraits of Family House, will depict various people involved with both Family House and the hospital including children, their families, caretakers and volunteers.

For Seamus Berkeley, the project represents a longtime goal of his—to create works of art that serve a larger social purpose. “It’s about using art to tell an inspiring story and to celebrate life,” says Berkeley. In order to complete a project of such large scale, Berkeley has been raising funds on, which will be used to cover the overhead costs of producing the paintings. The project will culminate in the publication of a hardcover art book that will present the history of Family House and the portraits accompanied by their subjects’ stories.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Seamus Berkeley has been painting for decades with a focus on oil portraiture. In 2002, he founded the Taos Society of Portrait Artists in Taos, NM, where he painted hundreds of portraits of locals and visitors. Following an around-the-world painting trip, he decided to continue his work in the Bay Area and opened a studio in his namesake Berkeley, CA. While caring for his aging mother and seeing caretakers in action at the hospital, Berkeley was moved to document and expose their work to the public at large. As the father of three children who have never experienced a significant illness, Berkeley was particularly drawn to gift his artwork to the Family House charity.

Founded by pediatric oncologist Art Ablin and his wife Debbie in 1981, Family House was created in response to a pressing need at the hospital—to provide free housing for families who previously had been sleeping on hospital floors or in their cars. Family House currently operates two buildings that can accommodate 34 families. Following Benioff Children’s Hospital’s move to Mission Bay by 2015, the charity is planning to build a $40 million facility that can house 80 families so that their work can continue. At this auspicious juncture in Family House’s history, the Portraits of Family House will be a welcome record of their caring mission. For more, visit or contact Development Associate Amy Lenz at

To find out more or to contribute to the project, visit To view portraits by Seamus Berkeley, visit