by Carolyn Blais
photos by Brook Harker and Global Art Exhibit
Art is a beautiful thing. Art is even more beautiful when its sales benefit a good cause. For Andres Miguel Espana, Executive Director of Global Art Exhibit, art and good causes go hand and hand. Espana’s non-profit organization teams up with generous, talented artists in order “to help end poverty though increasing access to primary education and educational material in underdeveloped regions of Tibet T.A.R China, Cambodia, Thailand and Southern India.”
I first learned about the efforts of Global Art Exhibit this past Saturday when I visited Qusco Gallery and Bistro on Santa Monica Blvd. I was invited to Qusco by artist Brooke Harker, whose paintings were on display there as part of Global Art Exhibit. Harker donated one-hundred percent of sales from two of the paintings and ten percent of every other painting sold to help benefit children in a Tibetan school and orphanage. This seems to be a cause close to Harker’s heart, as she has a great deal of personal experience working with children. After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Theatre Performance and Creative Drama/Theatre in Education, Harker went on to work with children around the world, and now in LA, teaching yoga and creative drama. Interestingly enough, Brooke’s paintings seem to capture a sense of childlike play that she hopes will not only inspire children but encourage adults to find the children within themselves. In the collection on display at Qusco, entitled “Quilted Cities,” Brooke uses a variety of different colors arranged in quilt like patches. The artist says the paintings are “like [her] own little puzzles to solve” as she tries “to figure out what shades work together.” Brooke Harker is undoubtedly an imaginative and compassionate artist whose talents are not unnoticed. In fact, two of her paintings, “Winter City” and “Orange City Squares” are currently being featured on Season 8 of Hell’s Kitchen on FOX.
Luckily, with artists like Harker, and innovative organizers like Espana, Global Art Exhibit is changing lives across the world. Since 2003, Global Art Exhibit has worked with community-based organizations to “provide food, clothing, and school supplies to children in need.” What’s more, the organization is staffed solely by volunteers. With Espana at the helm, Global Art Exhibit has done amazing works of charity including partnering with a schoolhouse in rural, southern India to provide education, food, and emergency assistance to hundreds of children; constructing a nursery and community center for children in Thailand who are political refugees from Burma; and working with an orphanage in Cambodia to secure “food, school supplies, toys, clothing, bedding and a new classroom complete with a black board and library.”
I’m glad I was able to share in a night of not only creative artwork, but amazing stories and inspirations of hope. Art for the purpose of not only enjoyment, but humanitarianism? Now that is something truly beautiful.
WHAT: Brooke Harker’s “Quilted Cities,” a benefit for Global Art Exhibit
WHERE: Qusco Gallery and Bistro, 11633 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
WHEN: November 20, 2010
WEBSITES: http://www.brookeharker.com and http://www.globalartexhibit.org