25th Annual Holiday Fundraiser Show
Supporting Local Charity, “BeneVet”
Opening reception 4th Friday Art Walk Nov. 22nd from 5-8pm with holiday treats
Live music performed by local artists “Small Change”
100% of the sales from this show go to the charity “BeneVet.” Come meet Nikki & Mike, and support our local veterans with your purchase of local art!
Each year since Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery has been opened the members have chosen a local non-profit charity to support in a Holiday Fundraiser Show. The members donate their artwork and receive donations from other local artists to sell over a month with 100% of the proceeds going to the charity. Just some of the donated art shown below!
This year the members voted to support “BeneVet” – Please come out to help us support this wonderful charity! www.benevet.site
It gives me hope for mankind and the future whenever I encounter someone who, through their own life struggles, finds a vocation in helping those in similar circumstances. On a recent day in October, I met up with two people who are doing just that.
Nikki Miller and Mike Jacobson have been friends for many years. Mike is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War and has had numerous ongoing health issues from his tours of duty. During a health crisis years ago, his neighbor Nikki stepped up to help. In visits to the Prescott Veterans Administration Hospital, they discovered that the clinicians didn’t always have all the equipment and resources they would wish to have, in order to provide the excellent care the veterans deserve. Capable and hard-working as they are, the staff at the VA have a limited budget.
Nikki and Mike knew that serving in the military, especially (but not only) in combat, often leaves veterans with lasting health issues. These men and women not only risk their lives in battle but also face another battle dealing with these health issues when they leave the service. They deserve the best clinical support we can give them.
So Mike and Nikki decided to ask the VA clinicians for a wish list, and BeneVet was born. The first item a VA therapist requested when BeneVet was created in 2009 was a mapping system for wheelchair-bound veterans. People who sit all day in a wheelchair tend to develop bed sores where the seat rubs the same spots. The mapping system tracks these spots, making it possible to customize the cushion and prevent such sores. In 2009 this system cost $10,000, so Nikki and Mike set that as a goal they would work toward to reach at a later date.
Small Things Make a Difference
One therapist requested a new handbook, as the book she had been using was from 1978. A new one would cost over $300 and was not in her budget. After receiving a new handbook from BeneVet, the therapist joyfully reported that she used it daily in her practice. BeneVet has continuously cultivated a public/private partnership with the VA clinicians who submit their wish lists of things they need. Some of the many items BeneVet has purchased for the VA over the last ten years include gas cards for vets to get to their treatment, a Sony Wii to simulate balance beams, computers for the VA library, a wheelchair scale, a medical treadmill, a stationary bike and ergometer tables (sort of like a laptop stand for upper-body exercise gear). Plus a sewing machine for Occupational Therapy, a felting machine and a wood-burning set.
And, finally, a mapping system! Nikki and Mike this year reached their goal of being able to purchase the long-wished for mapping system, which will make so many veterans more comfortable in their wheelchairs.
Another big item that BeneVet provides every year for the VA is a subscription to Neuropsych Online, a program for people who have had strokes and a resulting speech impediment. Veterans can go online at home and do speech therapy exercises via the program. They stay in touch with their speech therapist, but this program allows them to reduce the actual visits to the therapist (and necessary commute) from several times weekly to once or twice a month. BeneVet pays $1500 per year to provide access for our local veterans to Neuropsych Online.
Artists Chip In to Heal
Every year members of the Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery donate a piece of their work, which together become a month-long show to benefit a local non-profit. In past years the gallery fundraiser has helped organizations such as Horses With Heart, the Launchpad and Big Brothers Big Sisters. This year BeneVet was chosen to be the recipient of the annual Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery’s Holiday Fundraiser.
Arts Prescott is a unique kind of gallery, owned and run by the artists/members, currently numbering 25. The gallery was founded 26 years ago by local artists who wanted a gallery where they themselves would run the business, in addition to creating the art. As a member there myself, I can say that being a part of this business is a really healthy part of my life as an artist. Apart from spending time alone in my studio, I also work shifts where I interact with customers and sell everyone’s work, not just my own. We all get to know each other’s work and have opportunities to share interesting techniques and back-stories at monthly meetings which help us all when we’re on duty at the gallery. We also do all the maintenance and make all the display decisions together.
On the 4th Friday of each month we host a reception for a guest artist with live music, wine and nibbles. Many members are there to represent the gallery and engage with visitors. “Local” is the operative word when describing the Arts Prescott Gallery. We feel ourselves to be very much at the heart of this community.
Being a cooperative gallery, owned and operated by all local artists, we want to give back to Prescott in a way that is fun and creative. Items offered for sale at our Holiday Fundraiser will include handcrafted clothing, pottery, photography and numerous other media. We hope our Prescott neighbors will come and buy up all this beautiful art, knowing that the proceeds will benefit our veterans.
The opening reception for the show will be on Friday, November 22, from 5:00pm-8:00pm at the Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery, 134 S. Montezuma St. in Prescott. The show will be up until December 24. All proceeds from the sales of the donated art works will go to BeneVet. There will holiday treats as well as live music provided by local musicians Small Change. Come meet Nikki and Mike and support our local veterans with your purchase of local art!
To quote Nikki Miller, “Your involvement helps veterans know their sacrifices are worth our freedom.”
To learn more about the great work Nikki and Mike are doing with BeneVet, including their annual BeneVet Bowling Festival, go to www.benevet.site.