TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Monday, October 31, 2011

Artist Erica Harris and the Buddha's Smile School

Scholarships at the Buddha's Smile School awarded to Paro, Vishal, Ravi, Khusboo, Rekha, Sunita, Brijesh, and Pooja.

Erica Harris is a new cyber friend.  An extremely talented artist, I found common ground with her because of her interest in economic development and cultures around the world.  In her own words:

"I live in Brooklyn, New York. The history, debris, languages, and industries of my metropolis are a huge source of materials and inspiration. I also teach art to children, both here and internationally.

In recent years I have facilitated projects in India, Guatemala, Macedonia, Brazil, El Salvador, Southeast Asia, and Brooklyn. These settings have had a profound influence on my work, and the collaborations with children have been extremely rewarding exchanges. I learn as much, if not more, from looking at children’s art and talking with them about their process and ideas as I do from the museums and galleries of New York. Using art as a tool to outline and interpret their relationships to family, school, work, play, death, violence, society, and the environment, I am provided with such a simple visual vocabulary, so eloquent and universal."

Her work ranges in mood from serious to whimsical, but always meaningful.  Here are a couple of examples:

Cambodian Woman by Erica Harris

Studiocraft for American Craft Magazine by Erica Harris

Erica is currently helping the Buddha's Smile School in India to raise money for their scholarships.  She has a couple of events and is donating proceeds from her Etsy shop.  Here is the info she sent me:

We have started a Scholarship Fund for 8 students of Buddha's Smile School in Varanasi, India and hope you can contribute!  (Pictured at the top of this post)  The students are: Paro, Vishal, Ravi, Khusboo, Rekha, Sunita, Brijesh, and Pooja.

Each scholarship of 25,000 Rupees (about $500) covers costs for school supplies, books, clothing, first aid, meals, and transportation for one year.

These are children previously holding down full-time jobs, mostly as garbage collectors and recyclers on the streets of Varanasi. For most of them, Buddhas Smile School, a non-denominational, non-profit school, is their first experience with education and with someone taking an interest in their well-being.

Kids at Buddha's Smile School in their new winter clothes.

Here's how you can participate:

All proceeds of any purchase on my Etsy site from now until November 15th will be contributed to the fund.  In partnership with the lovely Brooklyn Commune cafe in Windsor Terrace, a print sale of my collages and drawings is running until November 24th.

All proceeds go towards the fund. 
Prints are 20 bucks. 
25 prints= 1 scholarship.

If you would like to create a full or partial scholarship either by purchase or donation in your name, or in the name of your family, school, organization, press or label, I will make a one-of-a-kind certificate and present it to the school when I visit in January. Just think of it!

For donations, please go HERE, and scroll to the bottom of the page.

As always, thank you so much for your support.
If you have already contributed, your generosity is greatly appreciated!

-Erica, Shannon, and Rajan (founder of Buddha's Smile School)

Erica's shop on Etsy: 


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(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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