Sales of donated art in Orillia will support African grandmothers/grandchildren

Orillia Today.  Feb 7, 2017. By Frank Matys.


Ann Downard and Linda DeVillers, of Mariposa Grandmothers to Grandmothers, are inviting residents to donate artworks for a one-day sale that will support African women raising their orphaned grandchildren. – Frank Matys/Metroland


Local group has raised more than $165,000 for the cause

A room at the rear of Ann Downard’s home houses a growing collection of artwork, donated for an upcoming fundraiser with far-reaching impacts.

There are pieces big and small, and themes that run the gamut from landscapes and people to head-scratching abstracts.

“There are still no black velvet Elvis (paintings),” jokes Downard, chair of Mariposa Grandmothers to Grandmothers, a local chapter of an international campaign run in partnership with the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Chapters in Canada, the U.K. and Australia fundraise for African women who are raising grandchildren whose parents have died from the AIDS epidemic.

The funds are invested in grassroots organizations that provide food, educational supplies, money for school and medical fees, housing and more.

 “From what I’ve read, some of them are raising 10 or 15 grandchildren by themselves,” said group member Linda DeVillers. “So it is really, really required.”

The Orillia chapter has raised more than $165,000 for the cause since its formation 11 years ago.

“People are very generous,” Downard said of the community response.

The group is now seeking donations of art for an Art from the Attic sale, taking place May 13 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Contributions of unwanted wall art, including prints, originals and frames, are welcome.

“Things will be priced to sell quickly,” said DeVillers, the event’s co-ordinator. “This will be a bargain hunter’s delight.”

Organizers have also reached out to local artists for donated pieces, which will be showcased separately during the daylong event.

 “We’ve modelled this after events they’ve had in Regina and Winnipeg and Toronto and other places where they’ve made thousands of dollars,” said DeVillers. “The last one in Regina, they had collected 1,500 pieces of artwork.”

The group meets monthly at St. Paul’s Centre and holds several fundraising events annually, including a mini-putt tournament, a yards and yarn sale and a Feb. 17 book exchange, taking place at St. Paul’s from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Members need not be grandmothers.

To donate art for the upcoming fundraising sale, or for more information about Mariposa Grandmothers to Grandmothers, call 705-325-6008.

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