HARP Holds Kickoff Gala and Open-Auction

In a joint collaboration with Non Sibi Society, student-run Haiti Arts Relief Project (HARP) held an informal kickoff gala last Friday night in Steinbach Lobby. Won Woo Kim ’15, Kent McLaughlin ’15 and Austin Robichaud ’15, coordinators, designed the gala as an introduction to an open-auction for the Haitian paintings sponsored by HARP.

Founded by Hyun Woo Kim ’13 to help fund relief efforts for Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, HARP is a for-profit organization that keeps 10 to 40 percent of what it makes in the painting auctions. The rest is donated to various Haitian humanitarian organizations, which subsequently fund orphanages and the HARP Art School. Other than providing the venue for the HARP Art School, HARP also provides the art supplies for the student artists, who in turn sell a handful of paintings to HARP every year, according to Won Woo.

“We had an exhibition last year, but most people didn’t even know about HARP. We’re trying to change that this year. We have been advertising on [PAnet’s] Campus News, printing catalogs and booklets and distributing them around campus and in mailboxes,” said Won Woo Kim.

Forty students and faculty attended the gala, where they heard the stories of Haitian artists who worked tirelessly to support disaster relief while enjoying some snacks and beverages as well as the preview of some Haitian music.

“These artists lost their jobs during the disaster. Drawing used to be their hobby, and now they are pursuing art in order to support their community by selling their paintings. While some of them have become very passionate about art, most of them had not been pursuing painting as a full career, which is surprising given the quality of art they can put forth,” said Won Woo Kim.

Won Woo Kim said that 25 Haitian paintings have been on sale since mid-February. Prices range from $80 to $200, and 10 paintings have been sold so far.

HARP sold two paintings at the gala Friday evening. At the end of the gala, the highest bidders of some of the paintings were announced. One of the paintings portrays scenery of Haitian children and their mother washing their clothes on a lake, purchased by Junius Williams ’14, and the other, a smaller-sized painting that portrays a crowd of Haitian people, went to Elaine Crivelli, Instructor in Art.

The exhibition will be up until March 14, 2013.