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Art auction to raise funds for African orphanage

Art auction to raise funds for African orphanage
Michelle Brooks
PUBLICATION: Jefferson City News-Tribune (MO)


DATE: April 4, 2010

Page: 17
Artwork and generosity combined locally in 2009 to fulfill the budget of an orphanage in Uganda.

From more than 75 who attended the first-time HALO Jefferson City Artreach Auction, more than $13,000 was raised.

“Kristen (Vogel, the orphanage coordinator) did a budget at $13,280; we raised $1 more than that,” said TaNea Graves, Jefferson City HALO chapter co-president. “It gives you the feeling that this is blessed.”

The 2010 HALO Jefferson City Artreach Auction will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at G2 Gallery Catering & Events, 102 E. High St. It will feature art from children helped by HALO around the world, as well as from local celebrities, and Graves hopes to raise $15,000.

Tickets are $25 per person to include music, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary drink.

The HALO Foundation, founded by a Jefferson City native Rebecca (Neuenswander) Welsh, is committed to enhancing living conditions and providing education and art therapy for orphans worldwide.

The Mengo Home in Uganda is fully supported by HALO Jefferson City and provides a safe haven for 20 girls, including shelter, food, water, clothing, education and art therapy.

“People loved the idea that we had the stories and artwork,” Graves said about last year’s auction.

Just purchasing the $25 ticket will provide three meals for everyone in the Mengo Home, Graves noted.

“People loved that the artwork was so different,” Graves said. “They drew elephant and gazelle. And from Nicaragua, one painting had boys with machetes.

“It hit home with people. The artwork told the story of the child’s way of life.”

Dani Walker, a senior at Indiana University, has been a part of similar art auctions elsewhere.

“People don’t want to just send their money; they want to feel connected,” said Walker, who will take up Vogel’s efforts in Uganda this summer. “The stories and pictures help so much.

“It is so powerful. Statistics can’t do that.”

Jefferson Citians also have a connection with HALO’s work through Welsh and Vogel.

The number one question Graves has been asked is, “Why help kids in Africa when there are kids here who need help?”

To that end, the local chapter has begun a partnership with the Cole County Chapter of the Midwest Foster Care & Adoption Association. Graves hopes the local HALO chapter and the association can develop programs for teenagers who will soon age out of the system.

Within the Cole County area, about 30 of the more than 100 children in foster care are age 16-17, Graves noted. They want to provide similar goals as their programs in Africa, like art therapy, self-sufficiency, and to know they are loved and supported, Graves said.

The Jefferson City HALO chapter is forming a board and seeking volunteers.

Chapters in Denver, Tulsa and Kansas City host similar auctions, are paired with a specific home for support, and are developing domestic partnerships, too.

The newly formed Jefferson City chapter also forged a relationship with Lincoln University and raised awareness about the organization throughout Central Missouri by hosting a Mid-Mo Idol competition in October.

Caption: TaNea Graves makes sure she likes the arrangement of the art as she prepares for the upcoming HALO Foundation fundraiser. Julie Smith/News Tribune