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Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. Shel Silverstein

Thursday, June 2, 2011

HE(ART) for Haiti- an art benefit

Okay, it's time to give FULL details on my small group's art benefit this weekend.

When: 7:00- 9:00 P.M. on Saturday, June 4, 2011.


Dominican Joe's Coffee Shop
will be donating 20% of proceeds from the benefit

Once upon a time (current day) there were Dominican and Haitian families living in poverty in the Dominican Republic, whose children had little or no access to a good education. At the same time, on the same island, there were coffee farmers growing one heck of a good coffee bean but not getting paid enough to support their families. Enter Makarios - a non-profit dedicated to helping pull families out of poverty by providing their kids with a quality education - and an idea that would help support the school and the community of farmers. What if we bought this high grade coffee (now certified by the Rainforest Alliance) directly from the farmers using fair trade practices, imported it to the US, and sold it here in order to raise money for the school? Brilliant!  

With this idea in mind, Dominican Joe Coffee Shop was birthed in Austin, Texas and Café Makarios coffee (under the Dominican Joe label) made its way into the hearts and homes of caring people all over America who want to help make a difference. It really is possible to change the world by drinking coffee! 

The Dominican Joe concept was born in early 2005, as a partnership between
Mehul Patel (local entrepreneur) and Sharla Megilligan (founder of Makarios).
Our goal was simply to make a difference in the world. The question we faced:
could we provide Austin with a high quality coffee shop in a way that made an
impact in the world through our coffee partnership? The vision took shape in early 2006, and on 
September 19th, after about 18 crazy months, we opened our doors in the heart of Austin at the corner 

of South Congress and Riverside Drive. Yay us! We breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated and then 

realized that was the easy part...

Artists: (The art shown will not be at the show, simply examples of the artist's work)

We will have artists from our small group:
Maree Haney

Taelor Russell (me)
Although I am a free lance photographer, my pieces at the benefit will be paintings!

Bethany & Levi Hanusch

Taylor Strauss

And artists from all spectrums of the art community:

Kirk Gentzel

Kate Stafford

Samantha McCrary

Amy Melsa

Sarah Brown

Daniel Davis

David Schwab

Tyler Northcutt

Ty Clark (SAMO4PREZ)

Scott Wade


nakedFOLK Collective

nakedFOLK is an artist collective designed to help songs from local songwriters find a home in the hearts of the Austin community. On any given night you will see performances by 2 or 3 of the collective. The nakedFOLK house band consists of a rhythm section, but is sometimes combined with mandolin, accordion, violin, organ, harmonica, trumpet, or sax. nakedFOLK was created to highlight the songwriting of each artist, so the venues we choose lend themselves to quiet conversation and a deep listening experience. If you like to hear the lyrics, and appreciate honesty, courage, and quality music, you need to come hear nakedFOLK.

There are so many orphans in Haiti, and the world is doing a pretty good job building and facilitating orphanages. One of the major problems happens whenever the orphans get to be too old to be taken care of. It is extremely difficult and sometimes impossible for these kids (around my age) to find homes and jobs to support them. Many of them turn to human trafficking either out of deception or out of desperation. Once caught in human trafficking, it is unfortunately a life of misery that is nearly impossible to escape. Sex trafficking is by far the most prominent and extreme form of trafficking where young women and children are bought and sold for sex. Often, they are drugged, beaten, or both into submission and obedience. Millions of these women and children die from AIDs each year, countless are severely injured through sex and torture, and all are extremely emotionally scarred.

My small group and I were presented with the opportunity to raise money to build a house in Haiti to provide shelter for three individuals at risk of being trapped in human trafficking. The organization we are partnering with, HELP (Help End Local Poverty) want to see a community build up around these aged out orphans. They will get a home and a "house mom" for a mere $5,500. They will have the opportunity to be sponsored until they secure a job, and will be offered jobs as the opportunities arise.

When we learned of the cause and how unbelievably inexpensive it would be to provide a home for three aged-out orphans, we said absolutely! This benefit is our first major fundraiser to fund this home. The cool thing about our benefit is that all of our artists, musicians, and our venue are passionate about social justice. But, the COOLEST thing is that although coming to the benefit, enjoying the music, having some coffee, and/or leaving with a piece of art would be awesome in and of itself, you will leave knowing that EVERY SINGLE CENT you put towards the benefit from 20% of your coffee, to donations, to raffle tickets, to buying art will go directly into building one house. The money we are raising will not go to a general fund, but will go specifically to one house that once built can be found on Google Maps. Therefore, if you purchase a painting for the amount that the door on the house would cost, then you will be funding the door!

Anyways, we hope that you come out to the benefit, bring a friend, drink some coffee, enjoy some music, look at some art, mingle with our participating artists and supporters, and help us build a house!

Some Links:

Restore Communities
Help End Local Povery (HELP)
HE(ART) for Haiti
Dominican Joe's Coffee Shop

over and out.

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