Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fundraising and Haiti

Recently I have felt proud to be part of the arts community. This past week, I realized how many art events I attended or planned to attend that were making charitable donations to important programs or organizations. The first was the Lighthouse Center of the Arts' BraVo exhibition, which will benefit cancer research. It’s an exhibit of art bras created by local artists, and the bras will be auctioned off at a Pink Cocktail Party on February 11th. The proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

This Friday, January 29th, is the opening reception and fundraiser Birds, Birds, Birds for the Audubon Society of the Everglades at Urs Art Studio Gallery at 805 N. Federal Highway in Boynton Beach. The event is free, but organizers are hoping attendees will make a donation at the door. In any event, 10% of the proceeds of sales will benefit the local Palm Beach County Audubon chapter in their endeavors to conserve our landscape and wildlife and in sponsoring events such as the upcoming Everglades Day on February 6th. My sister, Jan, inspired the event, and we are both pleased that six of our dad’s beautiful pastels of birds are a part of the exhibition.

Last week I attended a Neighborhood Art Stroll & Block Party presented by the Whitney, a residential and commercial property in downtown West Palm Beach, and Altima International which featured the work of a number of Cuban artists and the studios of Bruce Helander, Humberto Calzada, and Nathan Gallui Designs. A $10 admission was charged to benefit the Tri County Humane Society. By the time the event took place, however, the earthquake in Haiti had occurred so the organizers decided to divide the proceeds from admissions between the Humane Society and the Haiti Relief Fund.

Since Katrina took place in New Orleans, I can’t think of a natural disaster that has been more devastating than this earthquake. I found myself compelled to watch the news. If any nation was already suffering enough, certainly it was this one. Seeing the documentaries about women, who bake dirt cookies for a living was shocking, and the fact that for many it’s all they have to eat, is unconscionable. How do we manage to live in a world where people experience such impoverished conditions? And why does it take something as traumatizing as an earthquake to make us respond?

At least, we are taking action now. This past weekend there was a City Place Art Festival. The streets of City Place were packed with people viewing arts and crafts from a slew of artists from around the country. In addition to Publix and Muvico, and I imagine a number of other establishments which have been asking for donations, in the middle of the main street at the Arts Festival, there stood a Red Cross booth where attendees could make contributions for Haiti relief.

Local artists have also gotten into fundraising for Haiti. The Flamingo Clay Studio (at Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery) has put out a Call for Artists for a Haitian Empty Vessel Event in downtown Lake Worth. They are asking artists to donate at least two handmade bowls to the gallery by Saturday, February 27th. Each of the bowls will be sold for $25, and total proceeds will be going to the Haitian relief effort. They plan to work with local restaurants to set up samples of their food on the day of the event. Purchasers of bowls will be able to go from restaurant to restaurant or vender to vender to fill their bowls with food.

Now if only our creative abilities could come up with a way of ending world hunger.

Photo: City Place Art Festival by M. Schreiber