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Bernice Steinbaum Gallery to Host Gee's Bend Auction to Benefit Haiti
"Mary Lee Bendolph, Road to Recovery". Photo: Rubin Bendolph.

MIAMI, FL.- The Bernice Steinbaum Gallery announces an auction of quilts from Gee’s Bend to benefit the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund in association with the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance. The auction takes place on Saturday, March 13, 2010, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at 3550 North Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33127. Judge Karen Mills-Francis, star of the television series, Judge Karen’s Court, and author of 'Stay in Your Lane', is the auctioneer. The auction is open to the public.

In addition to the donation of the artwork by the Quilters of Gee’s Bend, the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery has generously donated its commission and the cost of packing and shipping following the auction.

"The women of Gee's Bend make quilts that are eye-dazzlingly beautiful. How moving that these women who are descendants of slaves offer their work for auction to help the Haitian people who are suffering from the after effects of the earthquake. How appropriate for this auction to take place in an art gallery; the Quilts of Gee's Bend prove definitively that the quilt is off the bed and on the wall," says Bernice Steinbaum.

In the aftermath of the earthquake the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective determined that an auction of quilts to raise much-needed funds was their path. Bernice Steinbaum and artist Edouard Duval Carrié (through his role as Director of the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance) were contacted and an event was born. Miami is the locus of Haitian life in the United States and thus the perfect location for an auction. Once partners were secured, the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective contacted the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to coordinate efforts ensuring that the funds raised would be channeled properly to Haiti.

“The earthquake in Haiti brings to mind the disaster that took place in Gee’s Bend in 1930. My father, Rev. Purnell Bennett, born September 17, 1917 in Gee’s Bend, told us the story of the tragedy often to remind us how we overcame with the help of others. In 1930 a local merchant who had extended credit to the residents of the Bend died. His heirs demanded immediate repayment of all debts. To meet the demands, families sold their animals, tools and seed to raise the money. The community survived thanks to the Red Cross. They provided rations and the acts of giving, a lesson passed down from generation to generation in our community. We survived this tragedy with the assistance of others and that’s why we are giving from our hearts. Our quilts have warmed families for hundreds of years and through this auction we will raise funds that will provide Haitians some comfort and necessities. Residents of Gee’s Bend will donate cash to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to provide additional support,” says Lovett Bennett, President of the Gee’s Bend Foundation.

Ten quilters will be featured at the auction on March 13, and reserve prices range from $10,000 to $30,000. Mary Lee Bendolph and Loretta P. Bennett are donating quilts entitled “Road to Recovery” and “Strong,” respectively. The list of quilters donating to the auction includes Marlene Bennett Jones, Ruth Kennedy, Lucy Mingo, Nancy Pettway, Qunnie Pettway and Stella Mae Pettway among others to be named shortly. (Images are available upon request). The Quilters of Gee’s Bend are designing a tribute quilt specifically for the auction. This group endeavor is comprised of individual squares created by the group then pieced and quilted.

Paulson Bott Press is donating an intaglio print entitled, Black & Brown, 2005 by Mary Lee Bendolph. The reserve price is $2,000.

The Bernice Steinbaum Gallery | Auction to Benefit Haiti | Clinton Bush Haiti Fund |

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