A colorful clown made of fur, poster board, pins, sequins and nail polish and an etching depicting the best-selling writer Jonathan Safran Foer are just two of the works Yale’s artists have put on auction to support relief efforts in the wake of this month’s earthquake in Haiti.
An eclectic mix of paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and collages are now on display at the Green Hall Gallery as part of a silent auction hosted by the Yale School of Art to raise money for earthquake victims. Both faculty members and students have donated small-scale works to the auction, which began this past Monday and will run until Feb. 8.
The auction grew out of a collaborative effort between students and faculty, School of Art Associate Dean and auction organizer Sam Messer said.
“My friend and I were reading newspapers one morning and feeling defeated by what was going on in Haiti,” painting student Charlotte Hallberg ART ’10 said. “We then contacted the art school, said we needed to do something, and were told that the faculty was working on it already.”
Messer said the auction is a great opportunity for artists to contribute actively to relief efforts in Haiti.
“Like anyone else, artists feel a part of the world community,” Messer said. “For us, the visual arts are a common language, and although the work for sale doesn’t directly relate to Haiti, it directly relates to human emotions, and thus is a powerful vehicle that we can use to help other people.”
Though it is not uncommon for artists to be asked to give work for charitable causes, Rochelle Feinstein, professor of painting and printmaking who also contributed artwork to the auction, said this event is unique because contributions were not solicited; the artists independently volunteered their artwork for the auction.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for faculty and students to make voluntary contributions,” Feinstein said. “This event has been a great equalizer for undergraduates, graduates and faculty.”
Messer said an important goal of the auction is to make visitors to the auction realize that relief efforts in Haiti will require extended commitment.
“I am hoping that the benefit will engage students and others to think about Haiti in the longer term,” said Messer. “Engagement will not end in a few months but will instead be a long cycle of rebuilding lives.”
In an effort to promote awareness about the current situation in Haiti, the auction’s closing event, where winners will be announced, will include a presentation by a Haitian Yale alumnus artist, who will provide bidders with historical and contextual information about the country and its present crisis.
Bidders, who write their bids on the pieces of paper beside each work, can chose to send their money to one of three relief organizations: Doctors Without Borders, Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund and Yele Haiti, Messer said.