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An ARTrageous Benefit for The Women’s Fund

Mixed media piece by Christy Kelly Bentgen.

Mixed media piece by Christy Kelly Bentgen.

With the goals of recognizing women artists in Door County and fostering an appreciation for the arts in women and girls, the Women’s Fund of Door County will host its inaugural ARTrageous Benefit on Sept. 26.

The one-day exhibit and sale will give individuals the opportunity to purchase art created by 62 recognized women artists of the county, with each piece being sold for $99.

The event was inspired by Palm Springs Art Museum’s 99 Bucks fundraiser, an anonymous sale of small canvases created by well-known and unknown artists in the Palm Springs area. The Women’s Fund of Door County talked extensively with the art museum about the event then went to the drawing board to create a similar event for Door County.

An all-volunteer committee was formed for the event and is made up of Jane Stevenson, Anne Egan, Kristi Roenning, Barbara Sweeney, Sherry Mutchler, Lolly Ratajczak and Janet Evers. Egan, Roenning, Sweeney and Mutchler will also participate as artists.

“These women are also very recognized and wonderful artists themselves so they lend not only their expertise as an artist but their respect in the arts community,” said Women’s Fund board member Jane Stevenson.

In January, the committee reached out to dozens of local women artists working in a variety of media to gauge their interest in creating small Door County-themed pieces for the benefit. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

Gray Aire Day. Cheryl Stidwell Parker.

“Gray Aire Day” by Cheryl Stidwell Parker.

“A lot of the other artists are excited to be a part of this because it’s a way they can give back to the community,” said committee member and artist Sherry Mutchler. “… It’s just a real honor to be included.”

Anne Egan echoed Mutchler’s sentiments, expressing not only the honor of being an invited artist but in helping support the arts in Door County. She described the arts as “a vital part of our civilization” and one that has far-reaching effects.

“It fosters creativity and I think if we are left without creativity, we are left with problems,” Egan said. “Creativity gives us the insights to look at other options, to see other ways of doing things, to not get stuck in the rut. Creativity is enlivening.”

A portion of proceeds from the event will go back to the participating artists and the remainder will benefit the Women’s Fund and its mission of building, enriching and nurturing the lives of Door County girls and women through “collective wisdom and philanthropy.”

“The reason we say collective wisdom is that we are a granting organization,” Stevenson explained. “So the money we raise goes back into the community to nonprofits who work with women and girls on various issues that we have identified before we really began and started forming and developing The Women’s Fund.”

"The Pines" by Barbara Sweeney.

“The Pines” by Barbara Sweeney.

Since its inception in 2009, the Women’s Fund has awarded approximately $85,000 in grants to Door County charities. It continues to work on its five key pillars of supporting women and girls: encouraging potential, promoting economic opportunity, supporting health and wellness, fostering appreciation for the arts, and recognizing and honoring girls and women of Door County.

“The Women’s Fund is really working to help those who are less fortunate, the people who have to work a lot harder to make things work out for them, and to be able to support the women in that and to help them with their responsibilities as mothers and contributors to society I think is a great service,” Egan said. “It affects everybody; it’s not just the women.”

An ARTrageous Benefit will be held Saturday, Sept. 26 with viewing from 2 – 3 pm and sale from 3 – 5 pm at Rehberger’s Hidden Acres Farm, 11128 Beach Road in Sister Bay. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. A complete list of all 62 female artists can be viewed at the Women’s Fund of Door County website, WomensFundDoorCounty.org or on their Facebook page.

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