Wednesday, October 20

‘We can’t do it alone’: how the art world is helping to combat food insecurity | Art

LLast month, thousands of cars lined up for miles in Dallas, Texas. This was not the average rush hour traffic jam or even a wait for Covid-19 testing, it was the longest lineup of this type for locals receive groceries from a self-service food bank, which helped feed more than 25,000 people for Thanksgiving.

Across the United States, food insecurity is at a its highest point. Food banks are expanding too much as a growing number of Americans cannot afford to buy food since the pandemic hit. the $ 4.5 billion food program led by the Trump administration is selling out sooner than expected, leaving charities and food banks, which have seen a 60% increase in demand, scrambled.

With the pandemic causing food insecurity For 40% of first-time Americans, now with the holidays just around the corner, what’s next?

It is the season for art fundraising. Artists, curators and art galleries from across the country are joining forces to raise money to combat food insecurity. From exhibitions to online auctions, raffles and print sales, art with a heart is another way to help feed people, just in time for Christmas.

New York art gallery Fort Makers has created a charity exhibition called Dreamscapes, which is helping to support the Henry Street Settlement Access to Food Initiative, selling prints through January 17.

“I have never been more concerned about my fellow New Yorkers than I am now because homelessness and food insecurity are skyrocketing,” said the gallery’s creative director, Nana Spears. “More than ever, we must take care of our neighbors.”

The benefit features limited-edition artwork by 14 artists, including Marcel Alcalá, Annie Bielski, and Naomi S Clark, among others, depicting fantasy landscapes and abstract works (50% of proceeds go to the cause, which has an emergency food pantry and the largest meal-on-wheels programs in New York).

“Bringing together art and charitable donations makes perfect sense to me, as both art and charities change lives,” added Spears.

Miami artist Vic García painting a new community refrigerator.
Miami artist Vic García painting a new community refrigerator. Photograph: Courtesy of Buddy System MIA

In Miami, a group of local artists works to combat food insecurity with the Buddy System MIA, the non-profit organization behind Miami Community Refrigerators, in association with Buchanan’s Whiskey. The artists, the artists – Reyna Noriega, AholSniffsGlue and Vic garcia – have been commissioned to paint colorful murals on 10 community refrigerators, which are placed around the most affected areas of Miami.

“Each painting captures Miami’s eccentricity and vibrant spirit, while bringing color to neighborhoods at a time when it’s needed most,” said Kristin Guerin, CEO of Buddy System MIA.

The initiative will also help provide more than 28,000 meals to underserved local communities over the holidays and through March, as one in six households in South Florida is currently struggling with food insecurity.

“We wanted to provide relief to our Miami neighbors in need through community coolers, which provide a quick and easy way for anyone to grab the food they need without asking questions,” said Guerin.

“The stress around food insecurity increases especially as the holidays represent a time of festivities and banquets,” he added. “We wanted to establish new refrigerators in areas that lack nutritious and affordable food options.”

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Service Workers in New York it is offering a $ 50 grocery stipend to service industry workers who are out of work. They have partnered with artists to help raise funds for their online raffle, allowing people who donate through their website a chance to win an art print (one print was a still life of food from the photographer Grant Cornett).

“We are building a future that recognizes that we cannot do it alone,” write the co-founders on their website. “It can help someone not just pay for their groceries, but know that they have the support of a whole network of people.”

Artists in Focus Screenshots
Photography: Artists in Focus

the Baxter Street Camera Club of New York organizes an annual initiative to help and sell photographic prints, Artists in Focus Fund, which provides assistance to artists in need. The work of more than 75 artists, including José Parla, Hannah Whitaker and Gillian Laub, will be on sale until December 26.

Dutch photography duo Inez & Vinoodh (Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin) have created a charity digital art platform in New York called Double Dutch, which helps charities. It’s a system where people can gift digital postcards from artists like Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince while making a donation to a selected charity. The list of organizations includes the Solidarity Response Fund of the World Health Organization, which supports the World Food Program.

“After toilet paper, the immediate reaction of people was to stock up on food when the pandemic hit,” Van Lamsweerde said. “But what about families who don’t have food, who lost their jobs and suddenly have nothing? Are they completely off to the side? Food insecurity was everyone’s first thought. That was number one on our list. “

Hudson Valley artist Dan Colen has formed Sky High Farm, a farm in upstate New York to help feed those in need. He and his team regularly donate organic homegrown fruits and vegetables to food pantries throughout New York State, with the goal of bringing nutritious food to everyone (not just the privileged).

Art students at Penn State University in Pennsylvania have also started a project called Bowled over, where they are manufacturing and selling handmade bowls made by the student ceramics club, available through their website, which helps benefit the school food pantry.

And Brooklyn artist Jade Alexis Thacker is currently working Kravets Wehby Gallery in New York to launch a limited edition print through Art for change. From the sale of each print, the artist will donate 20% of the proceeds to City Harvest, which helps feed the hungry in New York.

“I am happy to be in a position to help,” Thacker said. “Food insecurity in New York City has exploded during the pandemic. The intersection of art and programs like this help direct money where it is needed most. “

And it couldn’t be more timely right now. “Holidays offer a stark contrast between the haves and the have-nots, which people should be aware of throughout the year,” he added.

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