UMaine artists hold auction for Haiti

Posted March 31, 2010, at 6:15 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — A group of University of Maine art education students were looking earlier this semester for a cause around which they could base a class project.

Then a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing more than 200,000 people and destroying around 280,000 buildings. For the UMaine students, their cause of choice became clear.

The 13 students in professor Laurie Hicks’ class will present their project, Handmade for Haiti: An Art Initiative, in the form of a silent auction fundraiser starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday on the second floor of Lord Hall.

The auction is being held in conjunction with the opening reception for the 2010 annual Student Exhibition.

Funds raised during the auction will go to the nonprofit Art Creation Foundation for Children, which is located in Jacmel, Haiti.

Sarah Moon, a Bangor native and UMaine senior art education major, said the foundation provides a place for children to learn about art and how to create art that can generate money for low-income families. According to the foundation’s Web site, the program began unofficially in 2000 and was incorporated in 2003.

There were 60 children involved before the earthquake, and there are now 72, according to the site, which says many of the children enrolled were living on the streets, had never attended school or were orphaned.

“We decided that we were going to try to aid the earthquake relief effort in some way,” Moon said. “Where we were in art education class, we thought we should try to find something connected with art for the people of that area.”

Several UMaine faculty members and students have donated work for the show. Artists participating include Michael Lewis, James Linehan, Hicks, Owen Smith, Justin Wolff, Nina Sutcliffe, Ed Nadeau and MaJo Keleshian.

The work of some local students at the kindergarten through grade 12 levels will also be auctioned and displayed on Friday. Those students are in the classrooms of several UMaine art education graduate students who are teaching in local schools. The undergraduates assisted with some of those projects, which included workshops for elementary-school students held at the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor.

“We’ve all had a hand in working with children to create art for this auction,” Moon said. “These classes are designed to prepare us to be fully engaged art teachers when we step out into the work force.”

For more information, contact UMaine professor Laurie Hicks at 581-3247

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