When Herb Barker and his wife of over 64 years, Gloria, aren’t at their famed Barker Animation Art Gallery in Hallandale Beach sharing their unbridled enthusiasm for art appreciation with the community, they’re busy channeling an unwavering commitment to philanthropy into a masterpiece legacy exemplifying the fine art of ‘giving back’.
One of Gloria Barker’s favorite sayings is, “I want to continue living, so I can continue giving!” Putting those heartfelt words into charitable and humanitarian actions, the Barkers have donated over $1.6 million in countless pieces of artwork over the years to worthy causes and organizations.
Recipients of the Barkers’ major donations include JAFCO, Jewish Adoptive Foster Care Option, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and Miami Children’s Hospital. They have also donated over $50,000 of artwork to the Hollywood Boys and Girls Club. Their charitable contributions also include supporting SOIL, Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods, a non-profit in Haiti dedicated to protecting soil resources and transforming wastes into resources. SOIL is part of the Medishare Program from the University of Miami.
In 1997, Herb received the honorary degree ‘Doctor of Humane Letters’ from Briarwood College in Southington, CT, in recognition of his years of community service to New England cities and the State of Connecticut. In 1990, he was nominated ‘Boss of the Year’ for the State of CT by the CT Jaycees, and in 2007, he was chosen as one of four men to make up the inaugural class of the CT Business Hall of Fame.
Painting a poignant portrait of patriotism, the Barkers participated in an event commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11 at Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, where they helped recognize local law enforcement and fire rescue personnel by presenting a framed Statue of Liberty serigraph signed by renowned artist Melanie Taylor Kent – commissioned for the 1986 Centennial of the Statue of Liberty.
Just recently, the Barkers participated with the Aventura Marketing Council in the “Art from the Heart” event, donating framed animation artwork to 63 AMC-member non-profits, charities and schools. Demonstrating more star-power generosity, the Barkers have presented young singers participating in the Young Stars Showcase with artwork, trophies and gift certificates. They also work closely with the Embrace Girls Foundation; are Grand Benefactors of the Broward Performing Arts Foundation; and members of the Florida Grand Opera, The Opera Guild of Fort Lauderdale 21st Century Fund, the Broward Hundred Club and Angels of the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center.
Summing up the philosophy on life he shares with his soul mate Gloria, Barker says “My hope in giving is that we make the world a little bit better with the art we love so much.”
Founder of the largest animation and entertainment art gallery in the world in Cheshire, Connecticut, Herbert Baker was chosen by Animation Art Magazine as One of the top ten most influential people in animation in America. Beyond Barker Animation Art Gallery at Gulfstream Park, the Barkers also own and operate a Fine Art & Sculpture Division; Barker Specialty for promotional products and premium merchandise; The Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum in Connecticut, exhibiting over 80,000 items; Comic Strip Art Publishers Co.; and Barker Publishing Co., the world’s largest publisher of advertising and entertainment art.