By Tom Stoelker on
“We’re trying to connect artists in these developing communities with consumers,” said Pinar Zubaroglu, a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Social Service.
Erick Rengifo Minaya, Ph.D., an associate professor of economics and founder of Spes Nova, enlisted Zubaroglu, who traveled frequently to Haiti as part of her dissertation research, to help make contacts with artists there.
“Working in Haiti I began to realize that there are so many challenges, but the people are so resilient,” she said.
Andrew Meade, Ph.D., co-founder of the Vassar Haiti Project, said the peoples’ resiliency is reflected in their artistic creations.
“It’s accessible art. It reaches out and grabs you with rich colors and a subject matter rich with joy,” he said.
The Vassar group will be bringing 200 paintings and hundreds of handmade crafts to the event, he said. The event will feature a panel discussion titled “Communities at Risk: Social Justice in the Developing World” at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. Panelists include, Vinay Swami, Ph.D., professor and chair of French and Francophone Studies at Vassar, Patrick Struebi, founder of Fairtrasa, and Sean Murray, associate professor of Core Studies at St. John’s.
“A lot of organizations try to do this kind of work alone, but all the groups participating really believe in fair trade—not just the concept but in the application of it,” said Meade. “Through their arts and efforts, we are empowering all three communities.”
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Gabelli Business School will also participate in the three-day event. Proceeds will go to support Spes Nova, the Vassar Haiti Project, and student-driven fair trade groups at St. John’s.