My husband and I are snowbirds from Vermont who for the past seven years, have been spending the winters' four coldest months at Oceans One Resort. We came to beat the cold, but keep returning for the Southern hospitality and friendliness we have been shown. We love it here.
This year, hoping to give back as best I could, I organized and ran a craft show fund raiser for the Helping Hand food shelf of Myrtle Beach. The city donated the space at the base recreation center. Sixty five vendors and 605 attendees participated, and generously donated food and cash. The variety of art and crafts was amazing, very creative and totally varied. Among the crafts were knitted and sewn projects, jewelry of all kinds, hand made wooden products, glass art, wreaths, shells, home preserves, photography, paintings, printings and more. The success of the craft show exceeded our wildest expectations and a very worthy cause received a “thank you” from the community.
I have been thinking that there may be an additional way to bring art, charity and local businesses together. I approached Lee Zulanch, owner of Benjamin's Bakery at 3rd avenue, in Surfside Beach. I had met him the previous winter when he was in the midst of adding a Bagel Cafe to his wholesale bakery division. I asked if he would consider putting art in the cafe, and allow people to see the art while they ate. It would give exposure to his business as well as helping artists show their work. Lee agreed, and when I returned this year, I hung a selection of my fused glass on the cafe wall.
After the craft fair I realized that other local charities would be able to increase their services if they received additional help. Perhaps a combination of business and art could jointly sponsor an event. The businesses, the artists and the public would combine to assist the local charities as well as each other. The Humane Society, food shelves … there are so many worthy organizations. This could be a win win win situation where an artist shows, a business gets new customers and a charity gets recognized with help from the community. It could be done with a combination of businesses in a particular area or shopping center. It could be an entire area having a month long showing and all working to benefit a particular need in the community.
Sometimes going to see the art will bring someone to a business that they didn't know existed; or going to a business and viewing the work of a recognized or upcoming artist for the first time, or they may learn of a local need that they had not considered. Everyone would benefit and there is no downside.
So consider this as a seed getting sown. Bring together local and visiting artists, local businesses and local charities.