A Summer Garden Party fundraiser was held July 30 to help raise money and awareness for the SkyWoman Initiative.
The Garden Party, organized by Beaverton Special Events, was held at the Beaverton home of Ron Baird, the artist on the project, and his wife, Sarah Cowley, and featured a wonderful afternoon of music and connecting with the community with a performance by singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Jenie Thai.
Born in Thailand, raised outside of Edmonton and now living in Toronto, Jenie Thai has been making a name for herself across the country and the world. She performed a combination of contemporary and traditional blues piano and sang with a fiery passionate voice. The gathering of over 100 people were overwhelmed by her musical talents and her inspiring performance.
The Summer Garden Party was one of several fundraisers for the SkyWoman Initiative -- a distinctive and evocative sculpture that will be a prominent landmark at the Beaverton Harbour and a legacy for generations to come. The stainless steel sculpture will be nearly four storeys high and is designed to move in the wind and reflect sunlight. It will be a beacon for boaters and is expected to attract tourists to the area.
Baird, who is gifting his design and work for the SkyWoman project, unveiled the new maquette of the SkyWoman sculpture at the event. Mr. Baird addressed the audience and told the story of SkyWoman, which is based on many of the First Nations' stories about the creation of North America.
"It has been said that SkyWoman fell to the earth right in the area of Beaverton" Baird said. The SkyWoman sculpture will be situated across the lake from the famous sculpture Spirit Catcher in Barrie, also created by Ron Baird. The sculpture is designed to help draw attention to the Beaverton harbour and to Lake Simcoe with the hope of raising awareness for the protection of our natural resources.
Christine Dukelow, a member of the SkyWoman steering committee, addressed the crowd and spoke about the arts and how important public art is to the community.
"Public art stimulates dialogue and interaction, celebration, remembrance, social change and community pride,” she said. "That is what today is all about – generating the interest and enthusiasm and the funding to establish our own unique community identity through public art."
The Garden Party saw the launch of the SkyWoman fundraising campaign "101 Donations." Dukelow said the goal of the campaign “is to encourage individuals and families to make donations of $1000 or more over the next 15 months… 101 donations would take us strongly toward our goal of $150,000 for the complete installation and launch of SkyWoman."
Donors will be recognized for their gifts and will receive one of 101 signed and numbered prints of local artist Michele Sharpe's rendition of SkyWoman.
Les Munshaw and Paula Warder, members of Beaverton Special Events and the SkyWoman steering committee, presented prints to five donors as well as three Golden Beaver awards celebrating donations of $5,000 or more.
"We are so appreciative of the tremendous community support for this endeavor" Warder said. "We are excited for the progress so far and check our website for information on future fundraising events planned for this important project."
SkyWoman t-shirts were also sold at the event and are available at the various fundraising events and at Shirley's Country Clutter in Beaverton, with all proceeds going to the project.
For more information on the project or to make a donation visit the Sky Woman Initiative website at www.SkyWomanBeaverton.com. Follow the project on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Photos: Home page and top, artist Ron Baird unveils the new maquette of SkyWoman.
Above, left to right, Christine Dukelow, Les Munshaw and Paula Warder, members of the SkyWoman steering committee.
Article courtesy of Beaverton Special Events.
Photos courtesy of Pat Rose