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SolidARiTy Art Auction Benefits Social-Justice Organizations

Updated: Oct 16, 2020

Organized by South Bay residents Janne Kouri and Chad Drew, with support from South Bay Artist Collective’s Wendy Stillman and Rafael McMaster, the auction features more than 25 unique pieces and runs from October 17 through 24.

A group of more than 20 artists has created art pieces that incorporate donated plywood from South Bay businesses that were boarded-up for part of this past summer in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Those artworks will be available for viewing and for purchase online and at Resin Gallery in Hermosa Beach next week. Proceeds from the sales will benefit Claris Health and Social Justice Learning Institute, a pair of Los Angeles-based non-profit groups serving vulnerable, at-risk individuals. The more than 25 unique pieces available for viewing and auction were created by a network of artists that includes world-renowned photographers Bo Bridges and Brent Broza, encaustic artist Sabrina Armitage, and popular contemporary artists Drica Lobo, Wendy Stillman, Daniel Maltzman, Janice Schultz, Candyce Fabre, Vienna Pitts, Rafael McMaster, Ms. Yellow, MCHS student Charlie Kwon, and others. These artists each incorporated the donated plywood into their creations.

We want to transform these pieces of wood that were stood up as a defense into uplifting works of art that stand in support of solidarity and equality,” states Janne Kouri, one of SolidARiTy’s organizers, who is also the founder of NextStep, a local non-profit that makes rehabilitation accessible and affordable to those living with paralysis.

Rafael McMaster, one of the participating artists as well as a founding member of South Bay Artist Collective, explains that “when the protests first occurred in early summer, Chad Drew and Janne Kouri reached out to me, with a vision of being able to contribute to the movement by transforming the wood from the boarded up Downtown Manhattan Beach businesses into works of beauty, message, and support.  Along the way, we were lucky enough to find our local arts community eager to participate and volunteer their time and talent.

“We also became connected with the Social Justice Learning Institute and Claris Health,” he continues, “who offered great ways for us to give the auction proceeds back to causes dedicated to social justice and solidarity.”

As a creator of art for the SolidARiTy initiative, Rafael says, “Creating my piece for the auction meant clarifying my intention, action, and commitment to the movement against systemic racism and inequality in America.”

Adds organizer Chad Drew of SolidARiTy, “Our community is incredibly supportive and businesses responded immediately. And when we reached out to other artists, they were thrilled to be part of this movement and help these great local nonprofits.”

To support SolidARiTy, donations can be made to the Claris Health and Social Justice Learning Institute, and bidding will open on the art pieces on Saturday, October 17 here.

The SolidARiTy artworks pictured were provided by Diana Flynn of South Bay Artist Collective. Artworks were created by (from top left) Drica Lobo, Sabrina Armitage, Isis, and Wendy Stillman.

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