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UNC group to hold virtual art show to benefit Habitat for Humanity

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Workers pose in front of a Habitat for Humanity work site while others do work on the roof. Arts for Humanity is putting on a virtual art show to benefit Habitat. Photo courtesy of Claire Hyde.

An upcoming virtual art show featuring work from students and professionals will seek to alleviate homelessness in Chapel Hill. 

The show, hosted by Art for Humanity UNC, will take place on April 20 to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. Paintings, sculptures, jewelry, prints and more will be available to purchase on the Orange County Habitat for Humanity website, with prices ranging from $10 to $400. 

Art for Humanity, previously known as Mixed Concrete, usually holds an in-person silent auction every year to fundraise for Orange County Habitat for Humanity. This year, the organization has pivoted to an online art sale due to the pandemic. 

Junior Claire Hyde, one of the heads of Art for Humanity, said the mission of the sale is to use art to benefit the community and spur change.

“It not only raises awareness for the homelessness problem in Chapel Hill, but it also kind of showcases artists in the area that people normally wouldn’t have known about, and it’s a great way for student artists to get their name out there,” Hyde said.

Art for Humanity members also volunteer for Habitat for Humanity throughout the year, but their primary goal is fundraising through the art show. Collecting the art typically takes up the entire year.

Senior Warner Lamar, the other head of Art for Humanity, said the organization focuses on featuring local artists. He said that in the past, the group has raised up to $8,000 for Habitat for Humanity. 

“It’s about providing a platform for local artists and having an event that’s focused on art in the Chapel Hill community,” Lamar said. “Obviously, that’s a little more difficult to do this year when it’s not a production and an event.”

Some of the professional artists may take a percentage of the sale, but many waive that option so most of the money goes directly to Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s about physically lending your support to two communities that mean a lot to North Carolina, which is Habitat and the arts community,” Hyde said. “They’re all awesome pieces and people would be happy to buy them, but the important part is knowing that all your dollars are going towards Habitat.”

Hyde said the art in the sale represents a wide range of North Carolina artists and includes prints, photography, abstract work and ceramics. 

Artist Ruth Moffat graduated from the University last May and is contributing her artwork to the sale. She said donating her art is a way to make art more accessible to everyone and helps her reach a wider audience.

“I’m sure that there’s lots of people that are participating in the auction and hear about the auction that would normally be out of my immediate circle or out of my reach,” Moffat said.

Hyde is also contributing artwork, including some paintings and prints, to the sale. She said she feels validated as an artist participating in the sale. 

“This is the first professional event I’ve been a part of, and I know other artists our age in college have echoed that statement, so I can speak to the fact that it means a lot to me on the other side to get my name out there,” Hyde said. “I’ve gotten a lot of calls from adults looking to buy my art just because they saw it at the auction, so it’s doing a lot in one fell swoop, which is awesome.”

Art for Humanity plans to once again have an in-person silent auction event next year and is looking for new students to join its team.


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