Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, a co-worker asked Commack High School art teacher Frank Musto if he would be willing to create a portrait of her brother-in-law, a fireman who perished that day. He obliged and created a portrait of the fallen hero in pencil.
“I remember the day I gave the portrait to my co-worker, it was magical. I could not express how it made me feel, that I had done a small part to help a family through this tremendous grief,” said Musto. When asked what he was owed for creating the portrait Frank recalled, “I just felt…how could I possibly take money for it?”
A few months later Frank visited the World Trade Center ruins and saw the fireman’s name on the board of those who had been lost on that tragic day. He had looked at this man's images for more than 40 hours and felt a deep connection. That day changed his life forever.
After a story on Musto’s work appeared in Long Island Newsday, he began receiving requests from all over the state. A decade after the 9/11 attacks, Frank has completed more than 20 portraits — each requiring over 40 hours to complete — absolutely free of charge. He has recently expanded throughout the community to help families that have recently lost a family member to other illnesses.
To contact Frank about a portrait of your own and to see samples of his work, please visit his website: www.frankmusto.com. (Note: to protect the privacy of the families, personal portraits are not available on his site.)
(Frank Musto is a member of Commack Teachers Association)