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An Art Sale To End Hunger

Annual Artists Against Hunger Paint Out and Art Sale Raises Money For The Oregon Food Bank
by: JAIME VALDEZ, Beaverton resident Denise McDonald was among the number of artists who took time to sketch, paint or photograph the goings-on at the Beaverton Farmers' Market as part of the Artists Against Hunger Paint Out and Art Sale.

Like many other Saturdays during the summer, sunflowers were in abundance at the Beaverton Farmers' Market on Aug. 19.

The main difference is that these flowers were painted, sketched and photographed as part of the Artists Against Hunger Paint Out and Art Sale.

Jayne Scott of the Beaverton Arts Commission said this project, which is a partnership between the Beaverton Arts Commission, local artists and the Beaverton Farmers Market, has raised about $500 each of the other years it has taken place. This year they hope to raise even more.

The way the Paint Out works is two-fold: First the artists journeyed into the market to create their art on July 29 and Aug. 5. Once that was done, the pieces were put on display and sold as part of a two-week sale that will wrap up on Saturday.

The majority of the artwork done at the market centered around flowers and fruit, with blueberries and sunflowers being the clear-cut majority; a number of pieces additionally featured the diverse people who frequent the market. There was also good variety of mediums used to create the artwork, ranging from photography, mixed media, watercolor and sketching.

Giving even more

Scott said one of this year's goals was to raise more money for the Food Bank; because of this, artists were required to donate to a food drive held during the painting portion of the Paint Out, which brought in 58 pounds of food and $449 for the Food Bank. They were also asked to increase the percentage donated from sales of their work at the market, going from 15 percent to 30 percent.

While this meant less money in the pockets of the artists, Scott said the changes were not a problem and that everyone involved was very supportive of the new requirements.

'I think the artists, just like the rest of the community, like to give back,' she said.

According to the Oregon Food Bank Web site (www.oregonfoodbank.org), the Oregon Food Bank of Washington County serves 90 nonprofit agencies in the county, including soup kitchens, senior centers, group homes, gleaning, migrant outreach program and food basket program. More than 46,000 households were also given a five- to seven-day supply of emergency food this fiscal year, which is a seven percent increase over last year.

Additional benefits

Besides helping the hungry, the Artists Against Hunger event is also a good way for artists to reach out and connect with people they may not otherwise get a chance to interact with.

The artists love painting at the market, Scott said, because they get so much attention for what they are doing.

'People just love watching them and chatting with them about their work,' she said.

Lenall Siebenaler, who completed five mixed media pieces during her time in the market, said she attracted a lot of interest from those walking by who wanted to know how the art process works. She described her style as 'very loose, kind of crazy, but fun,' which is amplified by the atmosphere of being around so many people at the open-air market.

'I love painting in the market. It's exciting,' Siebenaler said. 'I'll do it every year.'

Artist Carolyn Rondthaler echoed Siebenaler's sentiment.

'For artists it's always fun to see other people,' she said. 'I love it because you're outside and you're very busy.'

While this was Rondthaler's first year as a Paint Out participant, she said it won't be her last. One of the things she learned about painting at the market is the value of speed. While doing a piece based on one of the flower stands she set her easel near, Rondthaler said she had to work fast in order to capture the customers who were only in her line of sight for a moment's time. But even with this additional pressure, she said she had a good time helping a cause she regularly contributes to.

'I'm a big believer in the food bank,' Rondthaler said.

The Artists Against Hunger Art Sale will continue at the Beaverton Farmers' Market on Saturday. The market runs from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Southwest Hall Blvd., between Third and Fifth streets (across from the Beaverton City Library). For more information about state assistance programs for the hungry, call 1-800-SAFENET or visit www.oregonhelps.org.