NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — More than 50 area artists are joining their creative forces to make 100 hand-painted ceramic mugs in support of the Berkshire Immigrant Center.
The project, Vessels for Change, will culminate in a celebration at Bright Ideas Brewing on the Mass MOCA campus in North Adams on Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 7-9 p.m.
For a $100 donation to the Berkshire Immigrant Center donors will receive a one-of-a-kind handmade mug, locally brewed beer and a celebration. To make a donation and reserve a mug, visit the website.
Ceramic artist Stephanie Boyd, one of the event organizers, was inspired after a recent mini-fundraiser she held on Facebook shortly after the events at Charlottesville, Va. She made six mugs, posted them for $100 each with the intent of donating 100 percent to the Southern Poverty Law Center. She sold out within a few hours. The success of that project led her to create something larger to benefit a local organization.
"The response from our community has been inspiring," Boyd said. "Virtually everyone asked to participate responded with enthusiasm. And the donations are already pouring in.
"Our community wants to do something positive to provide some counterpoint to the negativity we see in the news everyday.”
Five ceramic artists - Boyd, Suzy Konecky, Amrita Lash, and Phil and Gail Sellers - are making the mugs and artists including the likes of Danny O., Amy Podmore, John MacDonald, Michael Oatman, Tracy Baker-White and many more are painting the mugs in the potters’ studios.
"Opening our studio for artists to come and paint has been a treat. We have already had a few days where there were several artists painting at the same time," said Gail Sellers of River Hill Pottery. "There is so much enthusiasm."
Vessels for Change aims to raise $10,000, equivalent to approximately 5 percent of the Berkshire Immigrant Center's annual budget.
"This is a critical and difficult time for many in our immigrant and refugee communities and we are so grateful that our community is coming together to support them and our work," said Brooke Mead, director of the Berkshire Immigrant Center. "We have just hired two new caseworkers to meet the ever-expanding need for our legal immigration counseling for the thousands of immigrants in the Berkshires. This wonderful creative initiative will bring a much-needed influx of funds to support our work and training for our new staff that is critically needed.
"We are enormously appreciative and humbled by a grassroots effort to support us financially so that we can keep our attention on our mission - directly helping immigrants."
The mission of the Berkshire Immigrant Center is to assist individuals and families in making the economic, psychological, and cultural adjustments to a new land. Each year the organization provides assistance to more than 800 individuals from more than 80 countries.
The participating artists are a "who's who" of the local creative economy and includes: William Archer, Tracy Baker-White, Renee Bouchard, Keith Bona, Stephanie Boyd, Sharon Carson, Jana Christy, Deb Coombs, Phyllis Criddle, Richard Criddle, Arthur DeBow, Zoe Doucette, Mike Glier, Brandon Graving, Suzy Helme, Jane Hudson, Frank Jackson, Ellen Joffe-Halpern, Joanna Klain, Alison Kolesar, Suzy Konecky, David Lane, Amrita Lash, John MacDonald, Sarah McNair, Anna Moriarty-Lev, Mark Mulherin, Karl Mullen, Mary Natalizia, Dawn Nelson, Danny O, Michael Oatman, Linda O'Brien, Opie O'Brien, Derek Parker, Doug Paisley, Amy Podmore, Maggi Randall, John Recco, Michele Ridgeway, Bill Riley, Anne Rocklein, Eric Rudd, Greg Scheckler, Ann Scott, Gail Sellers, Phil Sellers, Karin Stack, Diane Sullivan, Sandra Thomas and Betty Vera
The event organizers are Stephanie Boyd, Gail Sellers, Phil Sellers, Suzy Konecky, Laura Christensen, Orion Howard, Amrita Lash and Sandra Thomas.
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