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Haitian Arts and Handcraft Sale at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington , MA

  • First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church 630 Massachusetts Ave Arlington, MA USA (map)

ARLINGTON, MA – The First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington will for the first time be resplendent with the joyous colors of spectacular art and handcrafts from Haiti on November 1 and 2, in the Vestry. The sale will feature vibrant original art and handcrafts from Haiti.

The event is free and open to the public, with handcrafts starting at $5, and original paintings at $50. All sales are 50% tax deductible.

The coming art sale will run from Friday, November 1, through Saturday, November 2, in the Vestry:

Fri.    Nov. 1  6pm - 9pm    Art Sale, Wine & Cheese Reception, Student Remarks on Haiti & the art

Sat.  Nov. 2 10am - 4pm     Art Sale

The sale, being hosted by the Vassar Haiti Project will be an exciting event.  Sales directly support the livelihoods of hundreds of local artists and proceeds further benefit numerous programs in Chermaitre—a mountain village in northwestern Haiti.

Founded in by Andrew Meade and Lila Meade, VHP is a student-run organization that has raised over $1,500,000 since 2001. Based at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, VHP is a unique, award-winning experiential education in the theory and practice of global citizenship.  Student and community volunteers have the opportunity to travel to Haiti, where the organization sponsors a school and a medical clinic in addition to its support of artists and artisans.

Sam O’Keefe, Vassar class of 2020 reflects: “As a senior in college reflecting on my formative experiences to date, I remark striking parallels between the values I absorbed as a member of the First Parish youth group and those that my training in global citizenship with the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP) have helped me put into practice. The immediate warmth and sense of family that my joining the youth at First Parish in high school provided saw me integrate into a community that nurtures a deep commitment to compassionate service and equity, elements that are at the core of VHP's efforts to foster sustainable change in rural Haiti. 

I am grateful for the extent to which my personal and professional aspirations have been shaped by these intertwined philosophies; consequently I am so excited for the prospects of VHP students and the First Parish youth to join forces and recognize how much their groups' messages resonate with each other, and for the potential for the students to cultivate relations that extend beyond the November art sale.”

The organization counts on the success of its art sales and private donations to fund numerous life-sustaining projects, including:

  • Medical clinic:  A three-room medical clinic has been fully operational since April 2014 and is overseen by a full-time nurse and a physician, who are both Haitian. The clinic sees 3,000 patients a year and provides health care to the residents of 40 villages. 

  • Women's Cooperative: The 35-member cooperative was formed by village women looking to further support their families and the village. The women learn how to sew fabrics and make jewelry, both of which will be for sale. The Co-op also harvests, roasts, grinds, and bags of exquisite coffee that will be available!

  • Education: Chermaitre’s primary school serves 250 children in kindergarten through sixth grade.  VHP also supports a scholarship program that makes secondary school education possible for around eight outstanding students a year.  Currently there are an additional seven students who are needing sponsors for a year of financial support of $80/month or $1000/year.

  • Reforestation:  Over 36,000 trees have been planted in a wonderfully successful, community-based reforestation program.  The program rewards participating families with seeds for quickly growing cash and food crops such as beans and yams in exchange for the families agreeing to look after trees planted on their property.  

  • Water Access and Purification:   Thanks to a $55,000 Rotary Global Foundation grant to improve water access and purification in Chermaitre, centrally purified water is available to the people of these mountains for the first time! Fountains for water access now align the mountainous path up the trails to provide clean water for 500 families.

Student experiences are reported through the Vassar Haiti Project blog (

 For more information about VHP, including the art for sale, please visit