It takes a village to support a village — and that is exactly what Sag Harbor is doing for the community of Chermaitre, Haiti.
The sixth annual Haitian Art & Handcraft Sale — to benefit education, health and sustainable development in the remote village — will open with a reception on Friday, July 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Christ Episcopal Church, located at 5 Hampton Street in Sag Harbor.
In past years, proceeds helped complete a six-classroom school in 2008 and supported the construction of a medical clinic in 2010, which has since opened and offers health care to more than 3,000 patients in the rural northwest.
“By hosting the Vassar Haiti Project, the sale at our church affects the lives of people a world away from us,” The Rev. Karen Ann Campbell, Rector, Christ Episcopal Church said in a press release. “We are implored to not give people fish to eat but rather to teach them to fish. Through VHP, we are giving the villagers the ability to support themselves, restoring dignity to their lives.”
Featuring more than 200 original paintings, sculptures and unique gifts, including silk scarves and jewelry, “by all indications, the art we are bringing to Sag Harbor promises to be some of our best ever,” Lila Meade, co-founder of the Vassar Haiti Project, said in a press release.
Dialogue with women leaders in the village during recent trips to Chermaitre led to the formation of a 35-member women’s cooperative, which seeks to develop and nurture skills to make a difference in their community. The cooperative has already produced hand-sewn cloth napkins and ground coffee for sale, and the 2012 sale in Sag Harbor kicked off funraising efforts to build a community center for the cooperative — which is now furnished.
“Having been on our most recent March Haiti trip, I have seen the wonderful impacts of VHP on the developments of Chermaitre, including the school, church, health clinic, and the women’s co-op,” Catherine Wu, class of 2021, who will serve on the student executive board next year, said in a press release. “Having conversed with some of the Haitian artists myself, I saw how art is integrated into their lives and how difficult it is for the local artists to produce their art and sustain themselves after hours and hours of hard work. It was amazing to see how talented and capable these Haitians are in creating extraordinary paintings and crafts that show the beauty of Haiti through a unique pair of lens.”
The sale will continue on Saturday, July 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, July 22, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (845) 797-2123 or visit thehaitiproject.org.