This post is written by guest blogger, Erica Shanks, who organized this year’s Arts with Heart. Erica works with AmeriCorps* VISTA as the VISTA Leader at the United Way of the Piedmont.
As I purchased art work towards the end of the night, it hit me; I wasn’t just supporting three local artists, I was supporting three artists and three local organizations. All the money went back to local artists and local non-profits in our community. I call that a purchase well spent, and I wasn’t the only one.
Saturday, February 12th 2011 marked the 6th year of the Arts with Heart event, originated by our very own Alix Refshauge. Eight local artists sold work on behalf of eight different local non-profits of their choice. Forty percent of the artists’ sales that evening went directly to their non-profit of choice and another forty percent went back to the artists (Twenty percent was used to cover HUB-BUB administration fees). This year, the event brought in over $5000 total. It was a great event that showcased what our community has to offer for talented artists as well as services for others. Seeing the arts and non-profit communities come together to make a difference was overwhelming, and the weekend could not have been more appropriate for an event such as this.
Weeks after initially hearing from this year’s eight artists, the non-profits were chosen: HUB-BUB, Spartanburg Humane Society, Boy and Girls Club of the Upstate, Joe Utley Heart Resource Center, SPIHN, Piedmont Care, Cancer Association of Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties, and the Hub City Writers Project. Not only were these organizations to benefit monetarily, but they had also just created a new relationship with someone else in our community, making Spartanburg even closer. What better way to give a Valentine’s Day Gift?
The night of the event the Showroom was filled with warm conversations, new friends making connections that will last a lifetime, and parents teaching their kids the meaning of giving back. As I weaved in and out of different conversations, the passion that others displayed, for either artwork they admired in front of them, or the mission of the organizations being represented, almost made me blush with excitement. This was the sign of an event that equaled success!
When I started planning Arts with Heart towards the end of November 2010, I had no idea what the impact would be come Feb 12th of this year. I started contacting artists about their interest in participating with Arts with Heart, and the response was indescribable. (The line that “All people really want to do good” was evident here.) Our local artists jumped on the opportunity to give back, and do so with passion! Stacey Hettes, Dorothy Josey, Members of the Boys and Girls Club of the Upstate, Kristofer Neely, Carol Augthun, Greg Augthun, Christina Ramsey, and Brandi Dice–THANK YOU for giving back to Spartanburg!
In years to come I hope to see this event grow in the number of attendees who come out to support a good cause. These artists and organizations are living proof that they are holding the citizens of Spartanburg responsible for giving back to our community and to each other. We hope to see you next year–at Arts with Heart 2012!