Optimism Place launches new creative fundraiser to bring art to blank walls

  • Community   Monday, March 13, 2023   Lisa Chester
Haille Mcleod, left, multimedia artist, sold her piece "Group Chat" to Selena Jones (right) from The Chica Project.

Haille Mcleod, left, multimedia artist, sold her piece "Group Chat" to Selena Jones (right) from The Chica Project.

Optimism Place, a refuge for women and their children who have experienced abuse, has launched a creative new fundraiser called Artists Inspiring Hope and Healing. Through this initiative, donors can purchase pieces of art to hang on the walls of the newly renovated and expanded shelter later this year.

This inspired method of fundraising is meant to elevate the soon to be 12,000 square feet of wall space.

“Our community has always been really supportive of us, and it was important that we support our local community so this is a really creative fundraiser that allows us to have art on our walls and is an opportunity for artists to create art with the women who stay here in mind,” said Donna Jean Forster, financial manager for Optimism Place.

The art featured for sale is produced by Perth County artists; 25 artists have submitted 70 works for this creative fundraiser. The pieces vary in size and subject and are created with the inspiration of hope and healing for the women and children in mind.

Interested donors can purchase the piece of their choice with the intent that it will hang in a bedroom or shared area to inspire hope and healing to those living there. The proceeds of the sale are paid to the artists for their work, and a tax receipt is issued by Optimism Place to the donor along with a thank you letter. A plaque will be installed on the wall with the donor’s name next to the artwork donated.

“Often we ask the creative community to contribute so much to fundraisers in the community and we ask them to simply donate it. We wanted to recognize the value that artists contribute in our community and that there is great value in artwork, and we wanted them to be fairly compensated for it,” explained Forster.

Sales have been brisk since the launch of this campaign with many pieces already spoken for. The sale will continue through March until early April. Optimism Place has curated the art on their website at www.optimismplace.com/artists-inspiring-hope-and-healing. Clicking on the title of the artwork reveals a page with additional details and an artist bio.

“We are looking forward to what this will look like in our space,” shared Forster.

Optimism Place has been in Stratford since its humble beginnings in a house in 1983. As needs changed, so too did their address and a new, bright fully accessible building was built in 1994. Now, decades later, to answer growing demand, this new addition and renovation to the existing facility will see it grow to 12,000 square feet.

“In total this increases capacity by 115 per cent. The need in the community has been increasing through the years and we are glad to be there to answer that need and in a position to do this expansion, and take on this fundraising to really be able to support the community. The community has always been really supportive of us,” Forster emphasized.

The capital campaign stands at 33 per cent of fundraising, and there will be more ways for the community to contribute as there will be fundraising throughout 2023, with the goal of an October occupancy. At that time, there will be an opportunity for donors to visit and view the artwork adorning the new walls.

While this fundraiser contributes to the capital campaign for the renovation and addition, day to day needs can still be met through an Amazon wish list that is updated monthly to meet the current needs of the shelter. This can be found by navigating to the website Optimismplace.com and clicking on the Donate button.