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Posted March 6, 2012

Artists unite to protect the planet

Fundraiser in aid of environment isn't hippie - 'it's hip'

Times Colonist, March 6, 2012

Artists unite to protect the planet
Photo by TJ Watt

When photographer Frances Litman realized she was considered one of the biggest donors to local environmental charities, she was surprised.

"It made me laugh because I'm an artist," she said. "I thought, if I'm considered a good donor, this is pretty sad."

Through research, she says, she learned that environmental charities receive less than four per cent of all charitable giving in Canada - compared with the medical charities that receive more than 80 per cent.

"I thought, this is insanity," she said. "I thought I was alone in this thought, but what I realized was that all of my artist friends felt the same way. So I said, 'Why don't we creatively unite?' "

The movement will take the shape of a new festival, appropriately held April 20 to 22 during Earth Week. Creatively United for the Planet, a three-day, all-ages event, will mix entertainment with opportunities to support green charities.

"It's a way to bring the environmental charities to a fun event," said Litman.

Several artists have donated their time to the volunteer-run festival, including Ann Mortifee, Robert Bateman, the Soul Shakers, flutist Paul Horn, the Gettin' Higher Choir and conservation photographer Garth Lenz.

Events kick off April 20 with an all-ages Mardi Gras-themed dance party. Costumes are optional.

There will be sessions on how to make your house green, growing young gardeners and more.

Other events include creative events for kids, opportunities to learn about various animals, a fashion show, a John Lennon tribute concert and a student art auction.

Events will be held both indoors and outdoors at St. Matthias Hall.

Funds raised through the event will benefit the Sierra Club of B.C., the Western Wilderness Committee, the Dogwood Initiative, Ancient Forest Alliance, the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team, the B.C. Land Conservancy/TLC, Wild Arc, RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs), Oases Conservation Society, Peace Valley Environment Association, Child and Nature Alliance, Habitat for Humanity Victoria and YES B.C.

"These charities, now more than ever, need our support if we are going to maintain the lifestyle that we want," said Litman.

"We have to start taking it on ourselves to give more support to the people who are fighting for this."

Local environmental charities will be present to build awareness and answer questions. A CRD information booth will also have information about regional sustainable initiatives.

Litman said not to expect a "tree hugger" event.

"This isn't hippie; this is hip," she said.

She also promises a "good news" festival. "It's not about scaring people," she said. "It's about, OK, let's all join together and have a great time over this three-day event."


Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/todays-paper/Artists+unite+protect+planet/6256946/story.html


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