Ninety Minutes at Art for Ukraine, a two-day bargain sale on April 29 and 30 organized by six Midcoast artists, half of the donated artwork has already been sold. The artists who were the hosts had to extract additional pieces from their own collected works in order to survive the second day of the sale. And they were sold.
Organizer Sally Loughridge said the event sold $ 15,700 worth of artwork and brought in an additional $ 1,670 in direct donations for a total of $ 17,520 raised. All the money will go to Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children to help families affected by Russian aggression in their country.
Lyn Asselta, Jane Herbert, Betty Heselton, Penny Moody, Marnie Sinclair and Loughridge began planning sales just over a month ago during a meeting of their regular coloring and criticism group. By working together, they provided space for the event at the Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust headquarters at Round Top Farm in Damariscotta, and collected donated works from more than 70 artists.
When Herbert heard that on April 28, NPR’s “Maine Calling” radio program was a radio segment on how Mainers were finding ways to send help and support to the citizens of Ukraine, she called and made a proposal for Art for Ukraine.
Sales exceeded their expectations. Loughridge said she was struck by “such generosity of spirit as the wallet of artists and buyers”.
Hesselton believes that every city with an art district should look at organizing something similar.
“Not only did we make a lot of money, (but) everyone felt so good about buying or donating… People are frustrated and want to do something – it gave them a chance to help,” she said.
Moody knows the amount raised could be small compared to the huge need, but hopes to inspire others to follow suit. “We received a great response from the community and I am very glad. Everyone worked so hard. ”
Moody was scheduled for a shift on Saturday, but said she drove until Friday just to see how it was going.
“I wonder what’s going on,” she thought as she stopped at Round Top Farm, before realizing that all the cars in the parking lot were there for the art sale. “I couldn’t believe how many people were coming in.”
Herbert appreciated how the community gathered around the event – artists, musicians, the venue, customers and people who donated without buying. “I think the whole world is really faced with that,” she said.
Sinclair called the response “a testimony to how desperate people are to help”. She said everyone who came on Friday morning either bought artwork or donated money. “People came with open wallets.”
Sinclair said they were discussing whether to cancel the sale on Saturday, but she is glad they didn’t. “People just came and bought things … It was worth staying open for two days.”
According to Loughridge, several people of Ukrainian origin even stopped by on Saturday’s sale.
Six women in less than six weeks passed from concept to event.
“I hope this will encourage others to see what they could do creatively,” Loughridge said.