I live in Fayette County, Indiana. It's a small town that you can pass completely through in a matter of just about 15 minutes by car. It used to be an industrial town before the largest factories shut down and moved its jobs overseas. When that happened, so many people lost their jobs, and many of them close to retirement lost everything. There isn't much in this town, but most people here can not afford to move. Even worse, Fayette County was discovered to be the hardest hit city in our state's serious opioid epidemic.
Between the devastating job loss and the widespread opiod use causing hardships that have affected every family here, some people have lost their homes, and have nowhere to go. Even though this is such a small town, a census recently discovered that there are at least 19 authentically homeless people living within my town. These are people who have no place to stay, period. The census takers did not count couch-surfers, or people who receive help from friends or family. These people have nothing.
Because this is such a small town, there are no resources available to help them. Some churches offer free meals, and there is a rehab center here in town, but it is not enough to help this growing population of homeless people. We have no homeless shelters, and the only FSSA office in town closed down last year, so anyone who needs help applying for assistance has to contact them by phone, or travel to another city, both of which are difficult to do if you're homeless.
A local nonprofit, a 501C3 known as "Saved By Grace Ministries" is trying to raise money to establish homeless shelters and more rehab centers here in town.
I came up with an idea for a fundraiser for them. Last year, I donated a painting to the Chamber of Commerce for a silent auction fundraiser they were having, and it sold for $100! I was surprised that it had raised that much money for the chamber, and I thought... I wonder how much money I could raise for charity by having a silent auction full of art donations from charitable artists?
So... I came up with The Heart Gallery.
"The Heart Gallery" is a local charity organization that aims to fund projects that will enrich Fayette County, Indiana! (We are NOT an official nonprofit, donations to our charity are not eligible as a tax write-off.)
Our goal is to accept art donations from local artists and crafters throughout the year, and once a year host an event where we place all the donated artwork on display gallery-style and have a silent auction where buyers can bid on the pieces on display.
On top of raising money for charity, The Heart Gallery will be an awesome way for local artists (that includes photographers, if you donate large prints of your work!) to get their names out there! They will be invited to stand at the event and talk to potential bidders about their work and offer contact information for commissions and whatnot, like a real gallery event. While we are a local event, artists from anywhere in the world are invited to donate their work, and even if they can't attend the event, we will advertise your website and contact information if you would like. Anonymous donations of artwork are also welcome.
Thanks to months of hard work, and the support of many amazing people, including Dot Foods and the local Parks and Recreation Department, our charity auction is scheduled for February 10th.
The gallery will open at 12:00 pm, and anyone is welcome to come look at the works on display. Starting at 1pm and continuing until 3pm, we will be having a silent auction where people can bid on the pieces on display! At 3pm, the auction will come to a close, and we will be distributing the purchased artwork to the bidders until 4pm.
We have received some amazing donations already, but it is not quite enough to have a complete gallery event. We have from now until January 20th to accept donations of art, crafts, photography prints, and other forms of art. If you would like to donate some of your work (fine art prints are accepted!), please comment or send me a note, or you can contact the charity via Facebook. We'll have a P.O. Box set up soon to accept donations. I will only be accepting donations over the internet until January 1st to assure they will arrive in time for the auction.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! Please share this if you can! I need help spreading the word. I know there are some amazing artists here who would love to help.
Together, we can make a difference!
When we first got started, I was honored to have The Heart Gallery featured on the front page of the paper, above the fold!
NOTE: We are NOT affiliated with "The Heart Gallery of America, Inc.". I named my charity "The Heart Gallery" before I knew of this organization. I called ans spoke with their director and they have kindly given me permission to continue to use this name.