Vassar College will once again be resplendent with the joyous colors of spectacular art and handcrafts from Haiti on September 28, 29 and 30, on the second floor of the College Center. The sale will feature vibrant art and handcrafts from Haiti.
The event is free and open to the public, with handcrafts starting at $5, and original paintings at $50. All sales are 50% tax deductible.
The sale is hosted by the Vassar Haiti Project and Vassar’s Office of International Services. Sales directly support the livelihoods of literally hundreds of artists, and proceeds further benefit numerous programs in Chermaitre—a mountain village in Haiti unreachable by road.
Our annual live auction of Haitian art on Saturday the 29th highlights the weekend. Auction registration and a preview of featured artworks runs from 2pm to 3pm. The live auction commences at 3pm. Local auctioneer Ed Doyle will preside over the festivities. See absentee and telephone bidding at https://thehaitiproject.org/art/.
The auction is a place to find both great deals and also some unusual and unique pieces, all of which will be featured in a gallery on the website.
Founded by Assistant Dean of International Services Andrew Meade and his wife, Lila, VHP has raised over $1,500,000 since 2001. Based at Vassar, VHP is a unique, award-winning experiential education in the theory and practice of global citizenship. Student and community volunteers have the opportunity to travel to Haiti, where the organization sponsors a school and a medical clinic in addition to its support of artists and artisans.
Vassar alumna Anna Brashear reflects, “VHP … taught me the most useful skill of all, which is always to give of yourself to others. By giving my time, energy, and passion to VHP, I became part of a family and dedicated community which strives to work together with a village in Haiti to make a positive difference.”
An important mission of the organization is to teach college students how to run an effective and ethical nonprofit organization, which includes mentoring in how to create projects, work as a team and engage with customers. Daniel Elendu, Class of ’19 is a student president this year. “Being able to learn from people via conversations has been fundamental to my positive experiences as an international student at Vassar College. At art sales just like this one, there are lots of opportunities to engage in these conversations with community members” says Daniel. “At a recent event, I was able to share where I’m from. I talked about the education system in Nigeria and the schools I had attended, what my city is like, our different foods and how dishes are made. At various points of the conversation, I could translate what I am learning with VHP into positive impact in not just Haiti but in my home country”.
The organization counts on the success of its art sales and private donations to fund numerous life-sustaining projects, including:
– Medical clinic. A three-room medical clinic has been fully operational since April 2014, and is overseen by a full time nurse and a physician, who are both Haitian. The clinic sees 3,000 patients a year, and provides health care to the residents of 40 villages. Patients walk as much as three hours one-way to access health care at the clinic. VHP honored renowned humanitarian and physician Paul Farmer, MD, their annual spring gala, Art & Soul. “Don’t romanticize small,” Dr. Farmer has said to VHP students in encouragement of the critically important work that is happening at this clinic.
– Women’s Cooperative. The 75-member cooperative was formed by village women looking to further support their families and the village. The women learn how to sew fabrics and make jewelry, both of which will be for sale. The Co-op also harvests, roasts, grinds, and bags of exquisite coffee that VHP very quickly sells.
– Education. Chermaitre’s primary school serves 300 children in kindergarten through sixth grade. VHP also supports a scholarship program that makes secondary school education possible for about eight students a year.
– Reforestation. Fifteen thousand trees have been planted in a wonderfully successful, community-based reforestation program. The program rewards participating families with seeds for quickly growing cash and food crops such as beans and yams in exchange for the families agreeing to look after trees planted on their property. 95% of these trees are still growing, which is a very high success rate. These are part of the long term effort to repopulate the mountainsides with a minimum of 100,000 fruit and lumber trees to greatly enhance food security and environmental stability in the area. This phase was funded by a grant from Fokal in Haiti.
– Water Access and Purification. Thanks to a $55,000 Rotary Global Foundation grant to improve water access and purification in Chermaitre, centrally purified water is available to the people of these mountains for the first time in their history!
The coming Vassar sale will run from Friday, September 28, through Sunday, September 30, in the College Center multi-purpose room on the second floor of Main Building.
Fri. Sept. 28 12pm – 7pm Art Sale
Sat. Sept. 29 10am – 6pm Auction and Art Sale
Auction: 2pm – 3pm Auction Preview
3pm – 5pm Auction Live
Sun. Sept. 30 10am – 2pm Art Sale
Hundreds of original paintings will be offered as well as thousands of handcrafts, including hand painted silk scarves and iron sculptures.
VHP makes trips twice yearly to Haiti, bringing with them Vassar students and other volunteers from the Hudson Valley area. Jenna Amlani ’16 recalls the powerful impact of her trip, “Going to Haiti with VHP during spring break of my sophomore year was unlike anything I had ever experienced; I came out of that trip knowing that I wanted to devote my career to building a more just and equitable world.”
The student experiences are reported through the Vassar Haiti Project blog (http://blogs.vassar.edu/haitiproject/).
For more information about VHP, including the art for sale, please visit http://thehaitiproject.org.