Poughkeepsie, NY — Upwards of $50,000 in paintings and handcrafts will be offered in the Vassar Haiti Project's fifth annual benefit exhibit, auction, and sale, to be held on campus Monday, April 3 through Sunday, April 9, in the James W. Palmer Gallery and College Center Multipurpose Room. All events are free and open to the public, and all proceeds will continue to go to education for the children of Chermaître, a remote and destitute community in mountainous northwestern Haiti. To date, the project has raised more than $100,000
Petion Savain, Paul Beauvoir, Bernard Wah, Claude Dambreville, Jean-Baptiste Jean, Gesner Armand, Calixte Henry, Andre Blaise, Raymond Lafaille, Prefete Duffaut, Pierre Maxo, and Joseph Aderson are among the leading Haitian artists whose works will be offered.
On April 7, fifty paintings will be auctioned in the Multipurpose Room, after a showing April 3-5 in the Palmer Gallery (works are now viewable online at http://outreach.vassar.edu/haitiproject). The remaining works, and more than 200 additional paintings, hand painted silk scarves, iron sculptures, vodou flags, and other handcrafts will then be for sale in the Multipurpose Room the following two days, April 9-10.
An initial goal of the Vassar Haiti Project was to fund one hot meal each day for approximately150 Chermaître school children, and to help pay their teachers' salaries, according to founder Andrew Meade, the college's Director of International Services. Due to its growing success, the project is also helping to fund a new seven-room school in Chermaître, to replace the one-room, windowless, dirt-floored shack children currently attend. Initial building supplies were purchased after the 2005 art auction/sale raised a record $42,000, and the 2006 proceeds will go to construction salaries.
The project also strives to increase public understanding about Haitian culture and history, and Meade has steadily expanded the project's reach through community partnerships. Last year, local students in Spackenkill High School's (Poughkeepsie) Youth Against Racism Club and John Jay High School's (Hopewell Junction) Interact Club together raised over $2,000 for the project, and an art sale hosted by Fishkill's Trinity Episcopal Church brought in another $20,000. A collaborative relationship with renowned Haitian-born musician Wyclef Jean, and his philanthropic organization "Yele," is also being explored; members of the Vassar Haiti Project and Dean of the College JJ Jackson met with Jean before his recent Vassar performance.
Meade lived in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince in the 1970's, when his father was chief of operations at the U.S. Embassy. In 2003, when political and economic stability in Haiti made it possible for him to travel there and preview art works, he established relationships with many of the country's leading artists, gallery owners, and art dealers.
The 2006 art auction/sale is dedicated to the recently deceased local arts advocate Julia Dunwell, who was a steadfast supporter of the Vassar Haiti Project.
The following is a complete rundown of the April 3-9 Vassar Haiti Project activities:
Exhibition of Haitian Paintings
11:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.
James W. Palmer Gallery, College Center
Haiti Today: a panel discussion
Moderated by Kiese Laymon, Assistant Professor of English, and to include Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Professor of Hispanic Studies
Villard Room, College Center
Live Auction of Haitian Paintings
Led by Bill Rinaldi, of Rinaldi Auctions
Viewing: 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Auction: 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Multipurpose Room, College Center
Sale of Haitian Art and Handcrafts
April 8, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
April 9, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Multipurpose Room, College Center
For additional information on the Vassar Haiti Project, contact Andrew Meade at (845) 437-5831 and firstname.lastname@example.org, and go to http://outreach.vassar.edu/haitiproject. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities, at (845) 437-5370.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.