Since 2007, on the last weekend in May, Peg Graham and Marion Burnett have transformed Peg’s bungalow at 14 Ridgemoor Avenue in Scarborough into an indoor and outdoor art gallery. This transformation has given talented artists and artisans – working in a wide range of media including paint, iron work, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, woodworking, dye, paper & photography – an opportunity to show and sell their work. It gave everyone involved a chance to meet the 300 to 500 visitors each day of The Show; it put the names of the artists and the show sponsors into the hands and minds of thousands of neighbours and friends; and, most importantly to all involved – artists, patrons and sponsors – it helped send Masai Girls in Tanzania to secondary school.Eight years ago, Lynn Connell, one of our artists experienced ‘The Call’ through The Stephen Lewis Foundation here in Toronto and traveled to Tanzania for four months with local NGO – ICA Tanzania (Institute of Cultural Affairs). She raised funds here at home, paid for her own trip and now having returned to Tanzania many times through the years, Lynn in collaboration with ICA Tanzania, has become key in initiating action for The Masai Girls Education Fund, currently sponsoring 16 tribal girls through secondary school.
‘When you educate a boy you educate one person. When you educate a girl, not only do you educate her, but by doing so, you educate her family and her entire community.’
While the Ridgemoor Show is small compared to the huge challenge, the effects are tangible and direct. Up to 30% of each piece sold goes directly to educating the Masai Girls with none of the funds going to administrative overhead.
The creation and running of The Show itself is performed by a generous and dedicated team of Volunteers.
2012 is the fifth year that we have made these young women our cause. With what we have raised from our Shows we have succeeded in covering the costs of their education, including food, uniforms, books, medicine and shelter for our 16 Masai Girls. Now at the end of our 1st four years we are excited about our graduates…one soon to be teacher, two entering into nursing and one young woman is hoping to be a lawyer.
We started this year with a new and excited group of young women entering into their secondary school education, and together we can continue to make a difference.
The generosity of our Sponsors has been instrumental in reducing the overhead and production costs of putting on The Art Show, significantly increasing the amount of money going to the girls.
For the Spring 2012 Art Show on Ridgemoor we have added Pegs’ neighbor, Deb Elliotts’ yard to our venue, more beautiful space for more wonderful Art, and increased the contents of the Silent Auction. By expanding our advertising strategy we hope to attract more Torontonians to the event, sell more art and ultimately send more young Masai women to School. Our aim this year is to raise funds to hire a, well, qualified teacher for our Girls.
Your attendance is a very important part of our success. Thank-you for being a part of this worthwhile cause.
Peg & Marion