Habitat for Humanity : Art and More
Year after year, Islanders participate in that old dance: the Vineyard shuffle from winter rentals to temporary summer shelter. But with home prices reaching 85 percent above the median in Massachusetts, people such as firefighters, teachers, and all those who keep this community's heart pumping could eventually wind up on the mainland. But not if Habitat for Humanity of Martha's Vineyard can help it.
The organization whose mission is in part: "to work toward the elimination of substandard housing on the Vineyard and in the process, build stronger families and a strong community" is once again moving toward its goal in grand style. This Friday, June 27, is the 6th annual and sold out "Art and More Dinner and Auction," at the Harbor View in Edgartown.
The event includes both silent and live auctions, with popular Island auctioneers Susan Klein and Rick Lee - always as entertaining as they are effective. Among the participating artists who have generously donated their work for auction are Michele Dangelo, Peggy Zablotny, and Traeger DiPietro. Julie Willett, Executive Director at Habitat, promises a fast-paced and festive evening with built-in surprises.
Plans for this year's auction began last fall. A hardworking group of volunteers began meeting, initially every two weeks and then weekly. Ms. Willet is overjoyed at her team, whom she repeatedly refers to as "wonderful," and says, "I am so impressed with them."
In advertising for the event on their website, www.habitatmv.org, Habitat plainly asked the community for "help to create more affordable housing for Island families," and the community has, yet again, come up with an overwhelming response. Willet says, "Putting it very lightly, we are thrilled at the outpouring of our community for their donations, time, talent and skill. It is because of their efforts that we are able to build a home that a family on the Island can afford. Our [newest] homeowner says the days of 'couch hopping' and the 'Vineyard shuffle' will be but a memory. Another family is saved from moving off-Island, and we retain another school teacher." This house is the fifth completed, and construction on a sixth is set to begin next month.
It is important that this event and others like it keep selling out and keep growing. They are designed to help Habitat give "a hand-up, not a hand-out," as its motto goes. It is just one step forward in the ongoing process of preserving the Island's community and keeping its spirit flowing - not shuffling.
The 6th annual Art and More Dinner and Auction, Friday, June 27, 5:30 pm, at the Harbor View Hotel, Edgartown. Benefits Habitat for Humanity. Silent auction; hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, dinner; live auction with Rick Lee and Susan Klein. $75. 508-696-4646.
Adriana Stimola is a singer/actress who divides her time between New York and Martha's Vineyard.
Photos by Mae Deary