Holiday auction, art show on tap

Posted Sept. 02, 2010, at 11:55 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — To celebrate Labor Day, Eastern Maine Labor Council and Food AND Medicine are hosting two events — a Solidarity Harvest Benefit Auction and barbecue lunch Saturday, Sept. 4, and the annual Labor Day Celebration and art show Monday, Sept. 6.

Saturday’s events will get under way at 11 a.m. with the barbecue lunch, and the auction will begin at 1 p.m., Martin Chartrand, Food AND Medicine organizer, said Thursday.

“There are over 100 items, close to 120 items, all donated by Maine businesses,” he said. The auction items include “local produce, gift certificates to local restaurants and hotels, rafting trips, a netbook [or small computer]. There is a huge variety of stuff.”

All the funds raised from the auction will benefit the eighth annual Solidarity Harvest, which provides a Thanksgiving Day meal to laid-off workers and others in need.

“We did large baskets for 250 families [last year] and each basket fed six to 10 people,” said Laura Binger, a Food AND Medicine organizer.

Some of the people who have already donated to help provide holiday meals this year are past recipients, she said.

The barbecue lunch is $10 for adults and $2 for children under age 12. The auction is free and open to the public.

Bangor painter Ulrike Guthrie said she understands firsthand that times are tough for many Mainers. In the last year, she said, her family has had to decide “do we buy medicine or do we buy the food or do we feed the cats.

“I can’t really give money at the moment, but I can give paintings. It feels good.”

She donated one item to the auction and has four items in the art show.

On Labor Day, the public is invited to the Solidarity Center for a 4 p.m. dinner and to listen to folk music featuring Bill Morrissey of New Hampshire, a twice Grammy-nominated performer, and two guest speakers, gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud. The event, which costs $10 for adults and $2 for children under 12, also will feature the first-ever Farmer Labor Art Show.

“The art show is a display of art by workers and farmers that creatively reflects on labor, local agriculture, and the struggle of workers and farmers for a better life,” Chartrand said.

Twenty-five artists are participating in the art show, which features paintings, sculptures, photography, quilts and other items. A poet also will do a reading, Chartrand said.

“Thirty percent of the proceeds of the artwork will benefit the Solidarity Harvest and building a community greenhouse,” he said. “The rest goes to the artists themselves.”

For information about the local labor union or Food AND Medicine, call 989-5860.

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