On October 17th under warm, crystal blue skies in Denver, Donna Baker-Breningstall and Orvin Breningstall graciously welcomed over 80 guests to their exquisite garden-turned-gallery, for an art sale and fundraiser in support of the people of Haiti. Artists Ketty Devieux and Leona Lazar initiated and organized the event along with a committee of family, friends and supporters. Attendees meandered through a sunny, fall tableau of harvested plants and shimmering leaves, accompanied by the melodic, tropical sound of steel drums while enjoying tastes of Haitian food and drink. Abstract paintings by Devieux and clay sculptures by Lazar dotted the gardens and were offered for sale in support of the cause.
This idyllic scene was in stark contrast to the turmoil currently facing the people of Haiti, the home country of Devieux and her husband, Serge, who now reside in Denver. The fundraiser was their heartfelt response to the August 14th, 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the area of Petit Trou de Nippes whose residents have yet to fully recover from the previous devastating earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew five years ago, in addition to ongoing political instability.
With deep concern and desire to assist where possible, they connected with the 501(c)(3) organization Locally Haiti which is based in the epicenter of the earthquake and does community-based work, placing resources directly into the hands of Haitian leaders. Devieux utilized the best resources at hand, her artwork and a group of like-minded, compassionate artists and friends including Lazar who also offered up her work to help raise money.
Proceeds from tickets, art sales and a generous matching donor totaled over $23,000 and were donated to Locally Haiti.
Representatives from the organization attended and assisted at the event as did executive director Wynn Walent who, having recently visited the area, explained the situation on the ground and the great opportunity for impact.
“The challenges facing our partners in Haiti, particularly after the August earthquake, are truly staggering. But our 30-year history with local leaders and institutions in Petit Trou de Nippes allow us to invest directly in the women and men that can make a difference – and believe me, they are making a difference, thanks to you.”
On the event itself, Walent noted:
“This has been an incredible day— to not only gather you all, who care so much about what’s happening in Haiti, but also to celebrate the talents of Ketty Devieux, such a talented artist who is so generously donating all proceeds of her sales today to Haiti, her home country. Ketty knows as well as anyone just how much power, potential, and beauty can be unlocked in Haiti if we only invest there in the right way.”
Locally Haiti invests in locally led initiatives in Petit Trou de Nippes, Haiti, their partner community of over 30 years. Their programs are integrated across the sectors of education, agriculture, community health, and girls’ empowerment.
For more information and to donate, visit locallyhaiti.org.
Amy Norton provides marketing and communications to small businesses.
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