As a way to kick off 2008, I've decided to create auctions for some of my paintings in hopes of raising funds for the CVA Foodbank. The idea for the auctions was inspired by a couple of things that grabbed my attention almost simultaneously over the holidays. The first was a CNN broadcast I stumbled on while flipping around on the television one late sleepless night. It was a special called "Living Heroes". I tuned in to see a gentleman named Steve Peifer accepting an award for the incredibly inspiring, selfless work he has done in Kenya, feeding the children in school. Click here to watch the inspiring video.
About a day or two after I saw this program, I noticed PhilipÂ Rucker's article in the Washington Post online edition entitled, "Cupboards Are Bare at Food Banks." My first thought was, "Huh? With all of our wealth and resources we are having trouble supplying our country's own food banks?" The article actually focused on the D.C. Capital Area Food Bank needs, but it mentions that many of the nation's food banks are experiencing similar shortages. You can read more about it in the article, but the bottom line is that the food banks do not have the supplies they once did, and they need people to step up and help.
I got to wondering what was going on in my own local Central Virginia Foodbank. According to the CVA Foodbank's website, in the Metro Richmond area:
"...the poverty rate is more than twice the Virginia average. In fact, in the City of Richmond itâ€™s 38% and in Petersburg it's 40%, compared to the state average of 17%.. That means right here in our own backyard there are tens of thousands of children who go to bed hungry every day. "
As a citizen of Richmond, I'd have to live under a rock not to know of the poverty concerns we have in the city. But even so, these numbers are startling. And while the pragmatist in me realizes that there will always be inequalities in the world, the idealist wonders, "Why, given the earth's resources, should there ever be a reason for anyone to go hungry?"
I've always believed in the adage, "think globally, act locally." And while curbing world hunger seems like an overwhelming task, we all can make a huge difference in our local communities by simple acts of time, food or cash donations. Surprisingly, it doesn't take that much to make a difference. In fact, according to the CVA Foodbank's website, $25 will provide as many as 200 meals.
So to bring all of this back around to the subject of art, (after all, this is an art blog,) I thought it might be nice to see if I could raise some funds for the CVA Foodbank by offering some of my vignettes in auction format. I have been offering the little watercolor vignette paintings in my gallery and on my website for a little while now, and I've gotten some really nice feedback from collectors who enjoy them. And while I had already set prices for these works at truly introductory rates, for the next 6 months opening bids for these auctioned paintings will be set at the mega-bargain price of 200 meals, or $25 per item. 100% of the proceeds for the sale of these vignettes will be donated to the Central Virginia Foodbank.
It's my hope that each auction will get bids and that far surpass the opening bid. But even if I get just opening amount, it will generate a donation that can provide 200 meals. The CVA Foodbank is already doing some wonderful things for the folks in our area, not the least of which is providing comfort and hope for hungry kids. And, as evidenced in the above mentioned video, relieving hunger clears a pathway to learning, and education can help to provide way out of poverty.
Winning bidders get the artwork, maybe even at a mega bargain price, plus the satisfaction of knowing that their purchase is being donated to help one community's underprivileged children, elderly and families in serious need. Of course, you don't need to bid on artwork to make a difference in your own community. I encourage everyone who is able to get in touch with their own community's food bank and consider offering time, food, or cash. My auctions are just my own small (and hopefully fun) way of trying to raise some funds and a bit of awareness.
Well, thanks for sticking with me for this rather long explanation! Without further ado, I present my first Central Virginia Foodbank ("CVFB") auction for one of my recent watercolors:
“Open for Business” Original Signed Watercolor & Ink on paper (SOLD) ©Jennifer Young