Saturday, November 06, 2010


     “Yes!” we all said, without missing a heartbeat. Judy Shintani had just asked my Kelly Street Gallery partners and me if we would host the art auction benefitting Doctors Without Borders this year at our gallery. Little did we know how much we would be involved. And by that, I don’t mean just the work and commitment, but how much our hearts would be captured by what this really means.
 First off, I didn’t know before that the international medical humanitarian organization known here as Doctors Without Borders won the Nobel Prize For Peace in 1999. Nor did I know that it was started in France by doctors and journalists in 1971. I learned these things when doing some research to help promote the auction—and also learned DWB (as we have started referring to it in our flurries of email memos) works in 60 countries to help people whose survival is threatened by violence, disease, war, neglect and more, without a political or religious agenda. According to their website, 100% of the funding that comes from the U.S. goes to the work they do. And that’s where we come in.

This is the fourth year that Judy Shintani, SF Bay Area artist, activist, teacher and healer, has organized an independent fund-raiser for DWB, getting local artists to donate art and then have an event to sell them to raise funds to send to the organization. This is the first time it will be held in a gallery, though, and this year we have 35 local artists who have donated work, including Judy and my partners of the gallery, Dr. Debora Brown-Penrose, Susan Friedman, Jennifer Clark, and me. My good friend Ally Richter, who is one of my fellow commissioners on the Palo Alto Public Art Commission, also donated one of her works. All of the artists rose to the occasion and created new work just for this exhibit and auction, which is titled “Art of Compassion.”

Compassion, indeed. It is amazing what has flowed from the hearts of all of the artists. I got to see all of the works together for the first time a couple of days ago when Judy and Susan hung the show, and is it a delightful collection of all kinds of mediums, concepts, styles and sizes – 2D, 3D, jewelry, sculpture, and some I don’t know exactly how to categorize. It just feels great to see compassion expressed in so many ways.

It also feels great to be a part of it. Working side by side with so many – which also includes our two interns, Carina Woudenberg and Charie Harris, and the many local purveyors who donated food and wine – has made my heart swell. Now that is an unexpected surprise: that in the act of giving compassion, I am receiving compassion.

The show opens today at the gallery and the works will be on view and open for silent auction bidding 1-5 pm today and tomorrow, and next Saturday, Nov. 13th. Then, also on the 13th from 6-9 we will have a gala reception and more bidding, and even a live auctioneer at 8 pm to really liven things up. We have also printed a really lovely show catalogue for sale which will also benefit DWB; it is available at the gallery now or you can send a check to Kelly Street Gallery with your name and mailing address if you are interested ($21.85 includes tax and shipping).

I hope you can come by to see the show and especially that you can participate at the live auction reception. And, if you can’t, maybe at the end of the year when you are thinking of holiday gifts, think of Doctors Without Borders and that your gift to them will help alleviate suffering on this earth.

Note about the image: This work I had started before getting involved with the event, but there must have been a synchronicity going on as I had completed the subject (using 82 Photoshop layers to compose the hand) and was seeking an appropriate background for it. After meeting to discuss Art of Compassion, I came up with the idea of a Loving Kindness Meditation emanating from it, and wrote one in my own script using SketchbookPro as an additional layer. The piece, not surprisingly, is titled "Compassion." Like all of my other works, it is available in a limited edition pigment print in sizes from 8.5"x11" up to 17"x22." For queries, my email is n(at) This one makes a particularly nice gift. 

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At 10:12 PM , Anonymous M.C. said...

How cool! Can you post pictures of the show, so out-of-towners can get a feel for it?

"Compassion" will be one of your classics, I can tell.


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