The Vassar Haiti Project (VHP) will host a sale of Haitian paintings and handcraft at St. Mark’s (Capitol Hill) Episcopal Church on February 2, 3, & 4, 2018. All funds raised will help support relief efforts in the NW village of Chermaitre, Haiti in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Over 200 original Haitian paintings and a vast array of unique handcrafts will be for sale. The event is free and open to the public, and all sales are 50% tax deductible. Paintings start at $50 and handcrafts at $5.
The Vassar Haiti Project has a 17-year history of engaging people in support of Haitian artists, and applying the proceeds from art sales toward the sustainable development of rural villages in the northwest mountain villages near Chermaitre. VHP co-founder Andrew Meade explains, "We have provided a way for the artists to help the people of a village; it is Haitians helping Haitians. We are the middle people--facilitators of this grand dance."
VHP’s sustainable development work is expressed through various initiatives. Recent accomplishments include:
- the creation of a scholarship program that allows students to continue their education beyond 6th grade to secondary school
- a medical center that provides the residents of 30 villages regular access to health care
- the planting of 15,000 fruit and lumber trees and an additional 20,000 planned for this year
- implementation of a water purification system for the villages of Chermaitre and Fiervil
- formation of a women’s cooperative, which is helping women learn and develop marketable skills towards financial independence.
Jackie Eiting, Vassar Haiti Project Board member and an erstwhile Capitol Hill resident, said this of the project: “VHP is the best of organizations to contribute to – the development work we do in Haiti is amazing, but the fact that college students do that work and learn what it is to be a truly global citizen is the cherry on the cake. Come, learn, and enjoy the art and the energy that is the Vassar Haiti Project!”
In late 2017, a succession of hurricanes hit Haiti. While the initial shocks have long passed, the difficult job of rebuilding continues. In Chermaitre this means revitalizing farming plots for over 80 families, continuing with education efforts and learning from and supporting the morale of the community. Students and alumnae/i of Vassar College have partnered with local volunteers to raise funds with that goal in mind, through the sale of genuine Haitian paintings and handcraft.
“Having visited Chermaitre twice, as well as organized a dozen Haitian art and handcraft sales in my time as a student volunteer, I have seen how sale proceeds go directly toward funding our education, water, reforestation, healthcare, and women’s initiatives,” said former women’s initiative director Robyn Yzelman (a Vassar class of 2015 alumna). “Community support here in the U.S. makes all of VHP’s work possible. I am also honored to be able to share Haitian stories not commonly found in the mass media, but rather are shown here in masterful brushstrokes, steady beats of kompa music, or exquisite handcrafts.”
VHP co-founder Lila Meade sums up what the events have in store for visitors: "The art will be spectacular and the atmosphere electric."
The Project is thankful to the Royal Bank of Canada and Anibal Drelichman, Jr in making this art sale possible through their sponsorships.
PUBLIC CONTACT: Lila Meade, Vassar Haiti Project Co-Founder: (845)797-2123
To download the full press release, click here.