“House of Refuge is a faith-based, non-profit organization helping homeless families in crisis by providing transitional housing and supportive services that assist participants as they strive towards self-sufficiency and seek to obtain permanent housing.”
The 20 acres and 88 homes located at the former Williams Air Force Base were conveyed to House of Refuge in 1995 with the stipulation to provide transitional housing and supported service programs to eligible homeless families and individuals. In October 1996, the first resident was accepted into the program. Since that time, they have assisted over 7,000 individuals out of their homeless cycle and averaged a 90% success rate in moving them into permanent housing. Many of the residents come from a history of domestic violence.
In May 2016, HUD notified 50% of the USA transitional housing programs that grant funding was discontinued retroactive to February 2016. House of Refuge was impacted by this decision and, at that time, their 81 housing units were fully occupied. This budget reduction forced residents in 69 housing units to be relocated to other living facilities. Currently, their budget can only support servicing 12 units and they are seeking private funding to cover the costs to reopen the unused units. There is a waiting list of over 100 requests.
House of Refuge is hosting their 20th Anniversary Event on October 29th and the theme is “It will be a Night For Refuge to REBUILD THE HOUSE”.
Mesa United Way named House of Refuge its 2015 Agency of the Year. For more information, visit their website: www.houseofrefuge.org
As a result of organizing this art show, we enjoyed the unique opportunity to join forces with a group of creative people who are working together to bring more visibility to the visual arts in our community.
As individual artists and as a collective, we embrace this event to share our artistic creations with the general public in addition to giving back to the community.
Each year our art show has a fundraiser for chosen charities. Our goal is to make a difference in the community through donations to these charities and raising awareness for their causes. This collaborative project is truly rewarding! Donation funds are generated from raffle prizes, sponsor gifts, and artists’ donated original art. Because our show is in Mesa this year, we chose to sponsor the following local, vitally important, non-profit charities: Arizona Brainfood Inc. and House of Refuge Inc.
Arizona Brainfood Inc.
“Arizona Brainfood is a non-profit organization that discreetly provides a backpack of food to feed hungry school children on weekends. We hope that each child will return to school every Monday mentally aware and physically able to concentrate.”
In the fall of 2009, Arizona Brainfood’s program began by providing food bags to 180 children in two Mesa elementary schools. Its mission was to make sure that elementary children wouldn’t go hungry over the school year weekends so that their Monday mental and concentration skills were positively impacted. The program has grown considerably over the last seven years and continues to grow. It has even expanded to other Arizona cities (Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Fountain Hills, etc.).
At the beginning of the 2016 school year, 3,400 food bags were discreetly provided to a total of 104 Arizona elementary schools. Included in that total number, approximately 2,000 food bags were provided to 55 Mesa elementary schools.
Many local businesses and individuals donate all of the resources needed to make this a successful program. Major contributions include food, packing materials, and delivery trucks/drivers. Mesa Public Schools provides a “pro bono” warehouse space to store and pack all the food bags. Every Thursday morning, approximately 80 volunteers fill and load the food bags into the trucks for delivery to the elementary schools. On Fridays, teachers/counselors discreetly put the food bags into each designated child’s backpack.
Arizona Brainfood’s Board of Directors and Staff are all volunteers. For more information, visit their website: www.azbrainfood.org
On a recent European trip, I had an opportunity to visit the Louvre. My group quickly went upstairs to view the Mona Lisa painting. I stood close enough to her to inspect the lady’s eyes. I always try to get some information from art… She looks at her audience with eyes that seem to see. The painting gives life to her eyes in smooth, seamless realistic strokes. She lives behind these painted eyes. I admire the technique. I look carefully at the drawing and painting. I want to gain information for my own drawings from what I see. Of course, I don’t suggest a skill as deep as this artist’s but I am inspired to try to mimic what I see. I am moved to develop my skills.
At the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, there is a Van Gogh painting. Typically it is a portrait of an unsmiling, middle-aged woman, dressed in dark clothing. She sits up straight backed with her hands crossed on her lap. As an artist, I stood close to the painting and examined her hands. Her hands were crossed with her fingers resting gently on top. The knuckles, the nails, the bent thumbs show a life-like artistry that I look at for instruction. I look for ways to copy what the artist has done. I am inspired to try to develop my technique.
Artists paint in tents for months during the season in Phoenix. It is a joy to meander through their exhibits and watch them work in oils, watercolor and metals. Their paintings always inspire me to go home and work. I see a pictures of a rock-covered river bottom. I want to go home and paint water… and maybe, rocks!
To the casual eye, art can be enjoyed by simply viewing, but as an artist, I always am stirred to go further – not just looking, but practicing and developing my artistic skills.
~ Elin Bates