Following a monthlong galley showing, Arroyo Seco art gallery Parse Seco raised over $1,200 for Taos' DreamTree Project to help at-risk teens.
"Let Them Do," a gallery exhibit concept that brought together 10 artists from around the area, handed over a pair of size 16 Vans Authentic shoes to artists for their creative minds to mold.
Parse Seco owners Cecilia Cuff and Joel Meinholz wanted to host a show that would ultimately bring different artists with different styles together under one roof to benefit the community. Shoes were silently auctioned during the month of July with some of them reaching bids over $200 each.
"It was wonderful to work with Cecilia and Joel on this project. They have been incredible community partners in this," said DreamTree outreach coordinator Irene Loy. "The artistic installation was amazing on all fronts."
DreamTree, an assistance operation for youth in Taos, will use the money in its general funds and to support its shelter and transitional living program. The project helps youth get on their feet and even assists them with basic life skills and starter apartments.
The operation functions primarily on grants and donations, so a $1,280 is a much-appreciated breath of fresh air, according to Loy. Loy said the donations will help to make the project feel more like a "home away from home" for teens in the program.
With the $1,200, DreamTree will provide various activities, transportation and even some minor home furnishings for the youth. DreamTree is able to assist eight youth in its shelter and 18 in the transitional living program, which has helped many teens in the community become success stories as adults.
"It was an amazing show and it brought a great awareness to the DreamTree and to the gallery," Meinholtz said.
The idea first came as a way for the gallery to interact and connect more with the community, according to Meinholtz. Merging the idea of helping the youth with art and skateboarding came quickly to Meinholtz, a professional skateboarder.
"We thought (Vans) would be a great medium to attract artists and attention to the DreamTree Project," he said.
The monthlong silent auction began on July 5 after artists had over a month to submit their creations. Shoes were painted, created and styled by artists in unique ways, including sand, toys and interactive displays.
Local artist Omar Wilkins created a Vans Authentic shoe out of discarded spray paint cans and used a giant shoebox to display his work. Other works included the use of music and encouraged viewers to dance on a sheet of paper on the ground, which was later hung above the shoes.
Meinholz said the artists were encouraged to have fun with the event.
To close the event, Parse Seco held a gallery event where final bids were placed ,and the public could come take one last look at the shoes before they went to their new owners.
The event attracted a wide variety of community members and displayed a shoe created by the members of the DreamTree Project as well. Loy said the event was a good atmosphere for the youth in the community.
"It's important that we have activities and events that are youth friendly," Loy said. "Hats off to Cecilia and Joel for designing such a hip and contemporary event."
Parse Seco is a nonprofit gallery working for underrepresented artists to have a voice and a creative outlet in Taos.