The American Visionary Art Museum Donates Proceeds from Sales of Haitian Flags

Since the earthquake struck, Sideshow, a gift shop at the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore, Maryland, has raised approximately $15,000 through sales of Haitian ceremonial flags and other types of folk art. Ted Frankel, who makes two or three trips a year to Haiti in search of material for the shop, has been sending all proceeds back to the Caribbean nation and the artists themselves. As a Baltimore Sun article explains, Haitian folk artists have long fashioned sequins, beads, and recycled cloth backings into ornate, colorful flags (dwapo/drapeaux) depicting island deities. These flags are said to offer protection to those who display them. At the AVAM gift shop, the Haitian flags and banners have been selling steadily, including on Sideshow’s Web site.

Through trips going back 18 years, Frankel has developed a genuine affection for the island and its people. He says that he is confident that they will bounce back, adding that “They are a very friendly, very giving, very outgoing people. But most of all, the Haitians are a very strong people.”

AVAM’s fund-raising effort is one of many devised by Baltimore-area merchants and other organizations. Clerks at area High’s convenience stores are routinely asking customers if they’d like to donate. Benefit concerts are popping up in and around the city. At Bourbon Street Ballroom, four local bands—Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, All Mighty Senators, Free Lobster Buffet and Fiction 20 Down—played a benefit concert. The Baltimore Orioles also offered all proceeds from silent auctions and memorabilia sales at the past weekend’s FanFest.

Several performers will perform at the NightCat in Easton on January 30 and February 2. And about one-third of the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra will be performing on February 5 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Bel Air. Many other businesses and groups are looking to get involved with the aim of helping Haitian earthquake survivors.

For full article, see http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/bal-ae.avam25jan25,0,1914424.story

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