Friday, March 27, 2009

Local Artists and Restaurateurs Turn a Glass of Water into Something Beautiful

Sometimes DC has a philanthropic buzz few cities can match. On March 24, UNICEF’s Tap Project held a fundraiser and gallery opening, “Something Beautiful,” to provide clean water for children in developing countries. Local artists decorated Pepco’s Edison Place Gallery on Eighth Street NW with a lovely array of paintings, mosaics, photographs, and sculptures depicting glasses of water. The artists ranged from those affiliated with the Corcoran School of Art to children at the SAIL (School for Arts in Learning) Public Charter School. Communications firm GMMB helped UNICEF promote the event pro bono at the donated gallery space. Attendees bid for works of art in a silent auction that took place at the end of the evening. All proceeds from the auction will go to water and sanitation programs in the countries and areas UNICEF has designated as most in need.

I wandered the sp
ace with a large crowd of artists, foodies, and other interested patrons throughout the evening. We enjoyed fresh glasses of water garnished with fruit while drinking in works of art and presentations and performances by video artists Dissident Display and local water harpist Jayme Turner. Some adventurous attendees created their own art at a painting and drawing station. This event was unique among American cities raising money for the TAP Project.

During World Water Week, March 22-28, over a hundred DC restaurants encourage patrons to donate $1 or more for a glass of clean tap water. Every dollar raised provides a child with clean drinking water for 40 days. With his wife, Polly, Chef Robert Wiedmaier, owner of local restaurants including Brasserie Beck, Marcel’s, and Brabo’s, has helped raise enthusiasm among DC restaurateurs for the Tap Project. Meshelle Armstrong, manager of Restaurant Eve, and Ruth Gresser, owner-chef of Pizzeria Paradiso, also publicized the project. After starting to participate in 2008, our increasingly vibrant restaurant culture comes in second only to New York City in the number of American dining establishments taking part in 2009. Please see this list of participating restaurants. Click here for more information about Tap DC and an innovative video PSA.

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