Galleries : Art Shorts
Fundraiser an artistic success
Holiday weekend, a perfect clear and balmy fall day, and a reason to gather: all the ingredients needed to bring Vineyarders out in joyful congregation. This past Sunday, Oct. 12 and Monday, Oct. 13, a swarm of anxious art collectors and artists, like a hive buzzing with enthusiasm, gathered outside Dragonfly Gallery in Oak Bluffs and stretched out along Dukes County Avenue. People began setting up their chairs around 10 am for the 3 pm opening. A line of more than 100 waiting strangers engaged each other in dialogues that made everyone sound related as they waited for the chance to purchase art by Island artists at a bargain price while making a political contribution to Senator Barack Obama's campaign fund.
With short notice and last minute planning, popular Island artist Leslie Baker managed to pull off a meticulously organized and wildly successful event - beyond her expectations, she admits.
Inspired by the popularity of the plein air show held in the Arts District held in late September and her zeal for presidential candidate Barack Obama, Ms. Baker, with the support of Holly Alaimo of Dragonfly Gallery, Alison Shaw of Alison Shaw Gallery and a dedicated cadre of volunteers, collected approximately 160 works of art from over 50 Island artists. Each piece was sold for $100 at Dragonfly and Alison Shaw galleries, all of which was contributed to the Obama campaign.
Photos by Susan Safford
On the first day of the two-day event, the galleries were cleared out in an hour and a half. "I sent out emails that night saying we needed more work," Ms. Baker said.
"I think people here are used to helping. Because we're a small community, there isn't a tendency to say, 'I'll get back to you.' The response is faster."
In all, about $20,000 was raised.
Martha's Vineyard artists not only donated their work, they also came and stood in line to make purchases. "Artists are generous," Ms. Baker said. "Artists are asked to donate a lot, and they are often the least able. And plein air artists are a group of artists who really come together," she continued. "All the artists approached were completely and instantaneously supportive."
She made special mention of photographer Alison Shaw, saying, "She has really redefined giving on Martha's Vineyard." She estimated that one-third of the money raised was probably a result of Ms. Shaw's donated work.
"There was a wonderful reaction," Ms. Baker said. "People were so grateful, thrilled to own a piece of Island art. The whole event was a happy, feel-good event."