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Local Businesses' Plywood Becomes Art for a Cause

Oct 18, 2020 07:08PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
A piece of this summer's divisive protests - the plywood that boarded up local businesses - has become a symbol of solidarity. More than 20 local artists have turned the plywood into artwork, which is now being auctioned off to benefit local nonprofits.

Called the SolidARiTy movement, the collection includes more than 20 thought-provoking multi-media pieces. The pieces are being auctioned off to benefit Claris Health and the Social Justice Learning Institute, both Los Angeles-based 501(c)(3) nonprofits serving the most vulnerable and at-risk people in the area.

The art auction is live now and will continue through October 24 at https://supportsolidarity.com. The pieces will be available for in-person viewing all week at Resin Gallery in Hermosa Beach via scheduled appointment. (Contact Resin Gallery at (831) 601-8137 or email info@southbayartistcollective.org to arrange a viewing.)

To donate directly to the fundraiser, and to learn more about the project and the artists, visit  https://funddeed.com/solidarity

Artists Collaborate to Create Fundraiser


SolidARiTy was organized by South Bay residents Janne Kouri and Chad Drew, with support
from South Bay Artist Collective member Wendy Stillman and founder Rafael McMaster.

“We want to transform these pieces of wood that were stood up as a defense, into uplifting
works of art that stand in support of solidarity and equality," said Janne Kouri in a statement.

Kouri is the founder of NextStep, a local non-profit that makes life-changing rehab accessible and affordable to those living with paralysis. He is known for his historic "Ride for Paralysis" in which he rode in his electric wheelchair and a specialized electric bicycle from Manhattan Beach to Washington D.C. to raise funds and awareness for the fitness needs of those living with paralysis. Last year, he won the Bob Meistrell Local Legend Award from the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The contributing artists include world renowned photographers Bo Bridges and Brent Broza, encaustic artist Sabrina Armitage, and popular contemporary artists including Drica Lobo, Wendy Stillman, Daniel Maltzman, Janice Schultz, Candyce Fabre, Vienna Pitts, Rafael McMaster, Ms. Yellow, Mira Costa High School student Charlie Kwon, and more.

Boards Represent "A Turning Point"


Following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests that flared into looting and violence across the country, curfews were enacted in many places, including Manhattan Beach. Many local businesses chose to board up their storefronts as a protective measure.

When the boards came down, Kouri and Drew then decided that the boards should represent a turning point. They reached out to business owners, including Michael Greenberg of Skechers who paid for boards used at many of the local stores, and they began collecting the boards.

“Our community is incredibly supportive and businesses responded immediately,” said Drew. “And when we reached out to other artists, they were thrilled to be part of this movement
and help these great local nonprofits."

The #SolidARiTy artists created their works using the themes of hope, unity, inspiration and equality.

The organizations supported by the fundraiser include Claris Health, which equips and cares for individuals and their families, before, during, and after pregnancy and sexual-health choices; and the Social Justice Learning Institute, which is dedicated to improving the education, health and well-being of youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training and community mobilization.

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