UWF in the Community

UWF art lecturers join forces with local artist to help people in Haiti

Though the devastation left by the Jan. 21 earthquake in Haiti lays hundreds of miles away from Pensacola, the emotional impact on Haiti’s people there is felt here in Pensacola where Hurricane Ivan left its own mark in September 2004.

That is why two University of West Florida art lecturers and artists, Gina Cestaro and Marzia Prendergast, and Pensacola business owner and artist James Amerson are working on an online art fundraiser to aid recovery efforts in Haiti. It’s called The Art of Giving and is currently under way through a dedicated eBay store — http://stores.ebay.com/theartofgivinghaiti2010. The auction continues through May 11 in 10-day periods.

“Because of Hurricane Ivan, residents in this area know what it’s like to deal with a disaster, to lose your home, to not have access to water or electricity,” Cestaro said. “Our hope is that residents in this community, in particular, will feel a greater sense of empathy with our neighbors in Haiti and participate in the fundraiser in whatever way they can.”

Amerson echoed Cestero’s sentiments about the auction’s cause. “My heart goes out to anyone who loses their home, because I lost my home during Hurricane Ivan,” he said. “I feel a certain responsibility to do what I can to help out other people who have lost their homes.”

Pensacola-area artists such as Joe Hobbs and Peter King as well as UWF art professors and students all donated to the 71-piece auction collection. The works include primarily fine art, photography, pottery, blown glass and jewelry. Late additions include two tickets donated by the Pensacola Children’s Chorus to its upcoming alumni show.

The colorful “Rebuilding Haiti” poster, which serves as the auction’s logo, is also up for auction. The logo can be seen all over Pensacola on billboards donated by Lamar Advertising. The poster was created with drawings by fourth-grade art students of teacher Jim Benny at Creative Learning Academy in Pensacola.

All auction proceeds will go to three different international groups on the ground right now in Haiti. These groups are:

Doctors Without Borders – http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org

Habitat for Humanity – https://www.habitat.org

Living Waters International – http://www.water.cc/initiaves/haiti

For more information about the auction, contact organizers at theartofgiving.haiti@gmail.com or visit the auction Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Art-of-Giving/10150102137265244. The auction eBay site is http://stores.ebay.com/theartofgivinghaiti2010.

By Susie Forrester, University Marketing Communications