VIP celebrates Chilmark Chocolates at art and yard sale

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The Vineyard Independence Partnership (VIP) is holding a celebration to recognize Chilmark Chocolates — an Island business that provided community-centered work opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

The beloved Island chocolate shop closed its doors last December, but VIP wants to acknowledge all that Chilmark Chocolates did for the community, so they are hosting a celebration and sale at the original store’s location.

VIP is a partnership of individuals with disabilities, their families, and friends working to ensure that opportunities for a full life are available to all.

Although no chocolate will be sold at the event, there will be T shirts, mugs, and other arts and crafts made by VIP members.

At the last art show hosted at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, the theme was “VIP on Land and Sea,” and members of the organization showcased their artistic and creative talents by painting pictures of sailboats under glimmering sunsets and taking photographs. Others drew pictures of sunflowers or sandy beaches.

This year, there will be quilting, paintings, and other small projects.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the ongoing programming of VIP, which seeks to bring those with disabilities and those without together, and provide rich and fulfilling experiences for all.

VIP board member J.P. Hitesman said the centerpiece of the celebration is all the sought-after Chilmark Chocolates memorabilia. But the event also highlights the longstanding relationship between VIP and Chilmark Chocolates, and the parallel ambitions of both institutions.

This year, Hitesman said one main focus of the art show and yard sale is bringing awareness to VIP and its mission.

“We are hoping to take that longstanding symmetry of both organizations and go a step further this year, and really try to bring awareness to VIP and what it’s all about,” Hitesman said. “We are going to continue the art focus from the spring sale. It won’t be exactly like the last one, but it’s going to be a great sale.”

Hitesman said he also hopes the art show and yard sale will exemplify the impact Chilmark Chocolates had on the Vineyard community.

The event will follow all social distancing and mask-weaking protocols.

The art show and memorabilia sale will kick off on Saturday, August 22, at the original Chilmark Chocolates location at 19 State Road, and will go from 10 am to 1 pm. A rain date is scheduled for Saturday, August 29.