GimmeShelter

Juxtapoz // Wednesday, 26 Jul 2006
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Image: excerpt of Annie Owens' piece "Crumble"


Awesome illustrator and Hi-Fructose co-founder Annie Owens showed us a piece she did for a project called GimmeShelter which proposes to raise awareness, as well as money, for organizations that advocate for homeless people. The project is headed up by "Greg" who keeps his last name off the website because he wants to do good without necessarily promoting himself. Imagine that.

We emailed Greg and asked him to elaborate on the grassroots aspects of his project. This is his response:

"Originally, all I wanted was to bring a similar show, to my hometown in order to raise awareness of the problem. After contacting the founder of that show, I was pretty much blown-off because the sole purpose of that show was to have it in his gallery with gallery-sponsored artists. The typical verbage, 'a portion of the proceeds raised from the show will be donated to a charity of our choice', really scared the crap out of me as well.

"After putting out some feelers to gauge interest in a broad-reaching show, the whole thing grew legs on its own. A friend and co-worker, Chris Zachary, did all the back-end web work. Chicago-based artist, Peabe, did all the design work. Adam Neate, who specializes in painting on cardboard in the UK (he says it gives the homeless a sense of 'self') donated some original works for the initial advertising. Finally, Daniel Goffin, a German-based artist, donated the web hosting. Before I knew it, I had 150 artists and 6 galleries who wanted to help.

"I haven't put my name on the site because I firmly believe that true altruism is doing something good without any expectation of reciprocity. As opposed to the above-mentioned show, I did not want any recognition for simply doing something good. Did I organize the volunteers? Have I done the back-end work? Bottom-line is yes, but the enjoyment of working with some great people has been a reward in itself. Feel free to use my name but please understand my motives for doing the show have not been about anything other than raising funds and awareness for the cause. It's not 'my' show - I've just served as the pain-in-the-ass that keeps all these great artists in line.

"I've set Gimmeshelter up as a fund-raising front-end for other established charities. I did not want to create another layer of political BS to funnel money through. Every single penny from the shows and the sale of the works will go to the National Coalition for the Homeless in the US, Novas in the UK, and a yet-to-be-finalized organization in Canada.

"I'm still in need of some help finding someone to develop a catalog of all the works (hopefully, in time to sell at the individual shows). I also need help securing a shipping company to get the works from point A to point B without taking money away from the charities - plus I really don't have any "front" money source to get the works around. Thus far, there are shows in Los Angeles, San Jose, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Toronto and the UK. I have at least 6 more venues that want to host it, but without something firm on shipping, I am hesitant to set anymore up.

"Let me know if this helps! Thank you and spread the word
- cardboard is for boxes!"

To see the artworks, or contact Greg about contributing to the project, visit the website: www.gimmeshelter.co.uk

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