The Vassar Haiti Project (VHP) and the Vassar Club of Washington DC will host a sale of Haitian paintings and handcraft at St. Mark’s (Capitol Hill) Episcopal Church on February 5, 6, & 7, 2016. All the funds raised will help to complete the construction of a kindergarten in Chermaitre, a mountain village in NW Haiti.
Over 200 original Haitian paintings and a vast array of unique handcraft will be for sale. The event is free and open to the public, and all sales are 50% tax deductible. Paintings start at $50, gifts at $5, and a special selection will be reserved for silent auction.
The weekend events will kick-off with a reception from 6:00pm to 9:00pm on Friday, February 5. On Saturday the sale will run from 10:00am to 4:00pm, and on Sunday from 9:30am to 2:00pm.
The VHP has a 15-year history of engaging people in support of Haitian artists, and applying the proceeds from art sales toward the sustainable development of Chermaitre. VHP co-founder Andrew Meade explains, "We have provided a way for the artists to help the people of a village; it is Haitians helping Haitians. We are the middle people--facilitators of this grand dance."
VHP’s sustainable development work is expressed through various initiatives. Recent accomplishments include: the creation of a scholarship program that allows students to continue their education beyond 6th grade; a medical center that provides the residents of 30 villages regular access to health care; the planting of 11,000 fruit and lumber trees; and the formation of a women’s cooperative, which is helping women learn and develop marketable skills.
Jackie Eiting, VHP board member and longtime Capitol Hill resident before her move to Baltimore, said “VHP is the best of organizations to contribute to – the development work we do in Haiti is amazing, but the fact that college students do that work and learn what it is to be a truly global citizen is the cherry on the cake. Come, learn, and enjoy the art and the energy that is the Vassar Haiti Project!”
Just over five years ago, a huge earthquake hit Haiti. While the initial shocks have long passed, the difficult job of rebuilding continues. In Chermaitre this means putting a roof over the youngest schoolchildren, whose classes have been open air following extensive damage to their school. Students and alumnae/i of Vassar College have teamed with local volunteers to raise funds to rebuild through the sale of genuine Haitian paintings and handcraft.
“Having visited Chermaitre twice, as well as organized a dozen Haitian art and handcraft sales in my time as a student volunteer, I have seen how sale proceeds go directly toward funding our education, water, reforestation, healthcare, and women’s initiatives,” said former women’s initiative director Robyn Yzelman (a Vassar class of 2015 alumna). “Community support here in the U.S. makes all of VHP’s work possible. I am also honored to be able to share Haitian stories not commonly found in the mass media, but rather are shown here in masterful brushstrokes, steady beats of kompa music, or exquisite handcrafts.”
VHP co-founder Lila Meade sums up what the events have in store for visitors: "The art will be spectacular and the atmosphere electric."
About the Vassar Haiti Project
The Vassar Haiti Project is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, based at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. For more information about VHP visit: http://thehaitiproject.org.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.