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Project Synopsis

Think, for a moment, about how good it would feel to be a part of a music festival where over 200 of America’s top artists are all headlining for a great cause, funding a cure for a devastating disorder called Rett syndrome. Now multiply that number by three.

For over two decades, Houston-based photographer Dave Clements, along with his close friend Kevin Black and Kevin’s brother, Clint Black, have been raising awareness and funds for little-known Rett syndrome. Their inspiration for the project comes from Cortney Kevin’s daughter, who died in 2003 at age 16 from the debilitating disorder.

Dave and Kevin’s remarkable project is a trilogy, three black and white photography books each titled Raising A Hand (Volumes One, Two, and Three.

Incorporating unique design and exceptional photo-quality paper, the three coffee table books depict all the ways artists use their hands during a performance. Each of the artists in each of the books has given their permission to be included, understanding the underlying theme is that they, individually and collectively, are ‘raising a hand’ for Rett.

Volume One has 206 artists, Volume Two has 236 artists and Volume Three has 336 artists. Perhaps this three-book series is the largest collection of music photos in the world. For sure it is among the largest for a cause.

Rett syndrome is a devastating neurological disorder that strikes mostly girls, occurring in about one of every 10,000 female births worldwide. Like Cortney, these precious girls are born normal and advance as you’d expect, up to about 12-18 months, at which point they start to regress to infancy.

They lose their ability to walk. They lose their ability to talk and also lose meaningful hand motions. They spend the rest of their lives dependent on others for their care. They are referred to as Silent Angels because they cannot share what they are thinking or feeling– they cannot tell their mom or Dad that they love them, or verbalize their needs or wants.

“We want to help fund a cure so no one will have to go through what Kevin, his family, and thousands of other families have gone through with their Silent Angels,” Dave says.

Please join our photographic “music festival.” Help spread the word so that we can make Raising A Hand The Trilogy all that it can be. Researchers are closing in on a reversal. Please help us tell our story of hope for a cure.

On behalf of Silent Angels everywhere, allow us to say what they cannot. “Thank you!”


Dave Clements

David Clements and Kevin Black


Dave Clements, a resident of Texas, was employed by ExxonMobil’s Marketing and Human Resources management teams for 33 years before his retirement. As a second career, Dave became a freelance photographer where his skills paved the way for his becoming a photographer for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for over 20 years, Lone Star Sports, NRG Corp, ExxonMobil, the U. S. Olympic Committee as well as both the President and Vice President of The United States.

Dave has photographed four Super Bowls and his images have been seen in a variety of publications across the country.

During his spare time, Dave blends his love for music with photography, taking thousands of photos of his favorite music artists, which has culminated in the creation of this three-book series titled Raising A Hand.

Dave writes music reviews for and frequently provides pro bono services for many charitable organizations including in part the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, the Crighton Theatre Foundation, Friends of the Flag Foundation, Boys and Girls Country, New Danville, Sounds of Texas Music Series, Young Texas Artists, the Conroe Symphony Orchestra and the DePelchin Children’s Center.

Dave and his wife Cathi enjoy traveling and Dave can frequently be found playing a round of golf with his buddies in his North Houston neighborhood.

Raising funds for Rett research until a cure is found is an ongoing priority in Dave’s life. His motto is one of benevolence: “It’s all about the children.” Learn more about Dave and his photography at

Kevin Black

Kevin BlackKevin Black’s first memory fueled the desire to entertain at the age of eight when he attempted to emulate Elvis in front of his parents and their friends. To what degree of success is anyone’s guess! However, their reaction generated something long-lasting. At nine, he was offered the remainder of four prepaid guitar lessons. Kevin remembers his teacher saying, “I’m going to teach you how to teach yourself to play guitar.” That was the only formal training he received. That same year his efforts paid off when he enrolled himself in a campaign to learn some country music favorites like Merle Haggard’s Okie From Muskogee from his dad’s alarm clock radio. By high school, his love for music would interfere with his parent’s plan for his higher education.

After years of working as an ironworker by day and performing in clubs at night, a life-altering event took place. Kevin got married and had three children, Cortney, Marshall, and Coleton. Cortney was diagnosed early on with Rett syndrome and that development would very quickly reshape the family’s future. Cortney lost her battle with Rett after sixteen years.

Instead of removing himself from the Rett world, Kevin immersed himself along with his friend Dave into a lifelong commitment to raising research funding and awareness until no child or family has to endure the pain and struggles of this devastating disorder.

Kevin’s love for photography was always present but didn’t come to light until meeting his mentor, Dave. Kevin became obsessed with gaining a greater understanding of how a camera worked and the fundamentals of light. After hijacking a Canon point-and-shoot that was a gift to his partner Angie, he obtained the skills needed to become a published photographer. This grew into a second career and a central part of his contribution to the Raising A Hand project.

Kevin still writes, performs his music, does photography, and admits it’s what he enjoys most out of life except for the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. —
Kevin Black

“I can’t be any prouder of Marshall and Coleton for the men they have become. Cortney had a profound impact on our lives and my sons embraced the challenges that came with having a sister with a devastating disability.”

Dave’s Personal Statement

When I first came up with the idea of doing a book for charity, I had no idea what I was getting myself, and others, into. Fortunately, my career was filled with hard work so, in this regard, I was well prepared. Discovering so many aspects of creating a book came as a daunting surprise.

Throughout this journey, there has never been a moment that I didn’t trust that our team of dedicated volunteers could turn this crazy idea into a reality.

While the uncharted territory of what we were getting into is now a much clearer journey, what still excites and motivates me the most is the “unknown” of how this story will evolve. There are many paths that we can follow. Which ones will we take? And where will they lead us?

We are certain about our goal: To raise awareness and dollars to fund a cure for Rett syndrome.

Just how many more people will know about RTT as a result of our effort, and will care enough to make a difference, is impossible for us to predict or measure.

The research community is making terrific progress toward finding drugs that make a positive difference in these girls’ lives. Will we make an equal difference?

How many people will join the 200 artists in our book to ‘raise a hand’ for Rett syndrome and the little girls afflicted with this dreadful disorder? How many people will spend $35 to make a difference in someone else’s life they may never meet?

Certainly, we are hoping that people around our great country and perhaps beyond will share their money and our story because either they love music or good photography or they need something to decorate their coffee table, or love little girls.

Perhaps they are fans of one of our featured artists, or maybe they have a favorite song that was written, covered, or released by one of our performers. Perhaps they are a Texan and want to help another Texan, or better yet, an American who wants to help another American, or a parent who wants to “raise a hand” for another parent.

While we may be clueless as to how the story ends, we move forward with a firm belief that our “tablet of hope” will do the job we intend – to help us fund a cure and spread the word about a disorder that has drastically changed so many young lives, and the lives of families that love and care for them.

We know that once we reach our destination, we can look back and say, “It was perhaps a road less traveled, but certainly a trip worth taking.”

After all, it’s all about the girls.

Dave Clements

Press Releases

All press releases should be added as they become available, with the most current being at the top.


Houston Chronicle

“Dave Clements: Rodeo Photographer, Rett syndrome Crusader”- March 18,2015

Conroe Courier

“From Raising a Camera to ‘Raising a Hand’ for Rett”- April 2, 2015

Voyage Houston

Meet David Clements and Kevin Black of Raising A Hand For Rett

Contact info

General Inquiries:

Dave Clements

Kevin Black