Black Bear Benefit

Article Published: Feb. 4, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Black Bear Benefit

A $10 raffle ticket earns you a chance to win this painting by a Haitian artist.

$10 could get you a piece of original artwork, and that's not all: an automatic opportunity to help Haitians in need.

Local collector John Schoo has teamed up with Black Bear Books and the American Red Cross to raffle off an original Haitian painting.

"This really cool opportunity settled in our laps," Black Bear Books manager Erin Thompson said.
"Anytime you can have people focus on something as wicked as what happened down there in the earthquake, that's got to be a worthwhile endeavor, so I would say it would be helpful if people could take another look at Haiti and see what it needs and what it has," Schoo said.

A conversation between BBB and Schoo got things rolling. Now and for the next few weeks, part of BBB looks a lot like an art gallery.

"They realized our cafe was a really good place to display all the artwork," Thompson said.
Schoo is a Blowing Rock-based collector of Haitian art and has several paintings, paper mache pieces and sequin pieces on display at BBB, including the canvas set to be raffled off March 1.
Schoo has about two dozen pieces in all, obtained during his many trips to Haiti over the past few decades.
Haitian art is unique, he said, with vibrant colors, and is often referred to as "the art of joy."
"It's an art that you can get your hands around," he said.

The raffled piece is by the Velcin family, he said.

"A lot of Haitian art, it becomes a family process, so that the brothers and cousins and the whole family get involved and learn from the patriarch of the family," Schoo said.

The earthquake not only devastated lives, it devastated "the cultural Haiti," he said.

"Some of the most beautiful art in Haiti was wall art, not art on canvases or sculptures, but murals," he said, referencing destroyed pieces in Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince.

"There is a national loss in Haiti that is unspoken because it is overwhelmed by loss of life," he said.

By showcasing Haiti's cultural heritage, Schoo hopes people can get a better sense of the devastation.

Schoo and BBB teamed up to recommend books on Haiti, all of which are displayed at the store.
"We are also going to be holding a lecture on Haitian art and culture," Thompson said. That lecture also takes place March 1.

Raffle tickets are $10 and are available both at Black Bear Books and the American Red Cross Headquarters. The raffle kicks off Thursday at 1:30pm at Black Bear Books.

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