Paint4Paws

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Rome artist inspired to donate works to benefit Clear Path

For many people, collegiate pursuits end when their degree is in hand. Soccer cleats get stored in the back of the closet. Clarinet reeds dry out and crack from lack of use. And the only French you give a second thought to is if there is an “s” in the word: Hors d’oeuvre. (Hint: There is.)

But Alexandra “Ali” Semeraro is returning to one of her former passions: art.

Semeraro and her boyfriend, Veteran Justin Miller, reside in Rome. On her daily commute to work, Semeraro passes the sculpture installations at the Griffiss (Business & Technology) Park, which have provided renewed inspiration to the artist.

“(I am in awe that) so much land has been dedicated to these amazing works of art, and it makes me proud to be a part of a community that supports such endeavors,” Semeraro said.

She took several art classes in high school and college – from the general art class to more advanced levels of art history and appreciation.

“I always loved creating things and learning about classical and modern art, but I never had the confidence to go further,” she revealed. “I ended up getting a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in culinary arts from SUNY Delhi in 2012. This career does require a certain amount of creativity to be successful, so I thought I would excel in that industry.” Approximately five years ago she switched gears career-wise and began to utilize the business portion of her degree. She currently works in accounting at a local business.

Painting fell by the wayside following college, because she wasn’t “really wasn’t happy with the results,” but a revelation has recently come to her: “Little did I know I just needed some practice. A few months ago, Justin encouraged me to get back into it and it has become a very fulfilling and confidence-building experience.”

Welcoming Dinah into their home

Shortly after Miller retired from military service he sought out support from Clear Path for Veterans. Joining the Dogs2Vets Program, Miller began the process of identifying a dog for training. After two tries with other dogs he found Dinah at a shelter.

“She was a perfect match for him,” Semeraro said. “She was testy at first, but as they worked together they formed an unbreakable bond. Dinah is an 8-year-old black lab mix. She is very loving and devoted to Justin, supporting him with almost everything he does.” Miller and Dinah were the fifth team to graduate from Clear Path’s Dogs2Vets Program.

Dinah has recently been showing signs to the couple that she is ready to retire from her job as a service animal, but Semeraro said Dinah will remain in their home as a pet. In 2017, the couple purchased another black lab – named Bugsy – whom they had not intended on training as a service dog, but that process is now underway. Bugsy passed her initial exam and is currently in the service dog training program at Clear Path.

Between Miller’s encouragement and inspiration from the sculptures at Griffiss, Semeraro has set up a mini studio in their guest room. That room houses her painting supplies; Miller, who is an avid photographer, has many of his best works decorating the walls of that room, and “I think those help with my inspiration as well,” Semararo said.

Semararo considers her art classification as modern abstract. Her goal is to achieve a lot of interesting texture and color on the canvas. She starts by gluing paper bag scraps to a framed canvas in different shapes, sometimes using sand or other recycled materials to get just the right texture, then painting over it with acrylic paint.

“In a way, I am combining sculpting and painting into one,” she said. “The names of the pieces usually come from what inspired me to paint them in the first place. However, most of the time I just start gluing down the paper and what happens, happens. Then I see what the shapes come out as and go from there. ‘Toxic’ is a good example of that.”

Welcoming Semararo’s work into your home

She amassed a collection of her work, and a YouTube video has inspired her to give her works to benefit Clear Path. In that video, children hosted a lemonade stand and donated the proceeds to a good cause. “The Dogs2Vets Program has benefited Justin and I directly, so I thought this would be a great way to give back to the program,” she said. Her giving back to the program is making her artwork available by donation. For a suggested donation amount, an art connoisseur can walk away with an original piece created by Semararo.

A few of her pieces are on display at Clear Path for Veterans and you can find photos of her pieces below along with the painting's dimension and suggested donation.

“The Dogs2Vets Program has given us Dinah. She supports Justin and I love her for a lot of reasons, but that’s the top one,” Semararo said. “She has brightened both our lives with her personality and the skills that she has learned from the trainers at Clear Path. It has brought me so much joy to be able to blend all the important things in my life together and help Clear Path help others.”

To secure an Alexandra Semeraro original, visit her Etsy page at www.Etsy.com/Shop/Paint4PawsOriginals.