‘Artists Who Share’ event is Aug. 4 to 6.
Three long months ago, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and forced significant changes in daily lives. Then, just as the country started to come out again, George Floyd’s death happened. Suddenly a slow return to gathering and activity became an frustrated rush to protest and grieve.
One company trying to bring a sense of hope and recovery into this painful and ever-changing situation is Edina, Minnesota-based public benefit corporation, Inclusivi-tee, whose mission is to create sustainable fashion while promoting environmental and social justice and kindness.
According to company Founder Lori Myren-Manbeck, that mission has never been more important. She said, “As we work to understand and cope with Mr. Floyd’s murder while reopening and redefining who we are, we have an opportunity to do better, to more strongly support equity, to stop police brutality and reduce racism, and to more decisively protect the earth and each other.”
When the pandemic struck, Inclusivi-tee’s management gathered to brainstorm. Said COO, Sharon Nwaebube, “We were on the cusp of launching a new collection, Shareables, but we knew we had to do something more. As we talked about our passion for art and our commitment to giving back, the idea for Artists Who Share: An Auction to Support Coronavirus Recovery began to take root.”
Artists Who Share is being held online June 25 through 28. The auction, which will be accessible from the front page of the website, inclusivi-tee.com, as well as from a Facebook event page, will feature work from more than 40 established and new artists from the United States, as well as artists from Colombia, Kenya, The Netherlands, Argentina, and England.
One Maple Grove artist, Dawn Carlson Conn’s work will be part of the event. Her work includes painting and sewing on fabric.
Artists Who Share started as an auction to support coronavirus recovery, but has now become an auction to support recovery from coronavirus and the effects of George Floyd’s murder. Said Myren-Manbeck, “As soon as George Floyd was murdered, we knew we had to shift. We live ten minutes from Minneapolis. I work, go to restaurants, and visit my daughter in the city. This is our home. We could not simply pretend this tragedy was not unfolding around us.”
Within days, Myren-Manbeck had spoken to artist Joe LaBlanche, whose partner, Lydia Marie, runs 1Love/1Mission, a nonprofit supporting people experiencing homelessness in Minneapolis. Mr. LaBlanche agreed to donate several pieces for the auction with proceeds going to 1Love/!Mission. Myren-Manbeck also reached out to Greta McLain and Cadex Herrara, who worked with other artists to create a mural honoring Mr. Floyd shortly after his murder. Both agreed to join the auction, raising the number of artists to over 40.
Artists come from a variety of backgrounds; represent different ethnic groups, ages, sexual orientations, and gender identities; and bring diverse perspectives to their work. Artists range in age from 8 to 91. Mediums include watercolor, acrylic, oil, charcoal, needlework, quilting, photography, drawing, fabric painting, and applique. Actress Sharon Stone donated her first-ever painting, which she created during the pandemic, a beautiful paint-by-number flower. Netia Worley, a 91 year old professional artist from Iowa, is donating two pieces, including a new work designed specifically for the auction.
“Artists Who Share is a fun, inspiring way to discover new artists, contribute to our shared recovery, and obtain some beautiful art. It is also a reminder that we are better, more creative, stronger, and more interesting together,” said Myren-Manbeck.
In addition to bidding on the art, participants can donate directly to fundraising. Twenty-five percent of money collected will go to the artists and seventy-five percent will go to nonprofits, which include The United Way, as well as smaller organizations such as 1Love/1Mission, whose mission is supporting people experiencing homelessness in Minneapolis, and Corporación Pazifistas in Colombia, whose mission is “feeding the present and building the future.” A recently added nonprofit is the Lake Street Business Association. Lake Street in Minneapolis saw many businesses damaged during recent unrest.
To find the auction online, visit inclusivi-tee.com/artists-who-share