EAST GARFIELD PARK — Eighty-four local photographers have raised more than $20,000 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository by selling their prints affordably to art lovers across the city.
The group of Chicago artists began the Prints for Hunger fundraiser after a similar effort raised more than a million dollars for the hard-hit Elmhurst Hospital in New York City during the peak of the pandemic.
Each print is available for a $100 donation plus $5 in shipping. The organizers of the fundraiser will use $15 from the donation for printing and packaging costs. The prints are 8.5 by 11 inches.
Marzena Abrahamik, one of the fundraisers’ organizers, said there is wide variety of photography demonstrated in the available work — from projects depicting Chicago neighborhoods to representations of identity to landscapes.
“This was an opportunity to acquire extraordinary photographs for a low price and at the same time contribute to an important cause,” said Abrahamik, an artist and a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the College of Lake County.
Abrahamik said they chose the Greater Chicago Food Depository because the organization has helped distribute food to Black and Brown communities on Chicago’s South and West Sides, areas that have been particularly impacted by the pandemic.
Another organizer, Leonardo Kaplan, an artist from East Garfield Park, said that this was an opportunity for artists to donate with their skills during the pandemic.
“I had this question in my mind where I was like, ‘how do we as artists or teachers or organizers work with what we have, what limited resources and skills we have together to help the community during the crisis?’” Kaplan said. “You know, I really thought it was important to find a really innovative way to help people during a crisis.”
Kaplan estimated the fundraiser has sold more than 125 prints since it began on June 25. Abrahamik and Kaplan said many artists they know have participated.
“Artists themselves are reaching out to their networks, and their networks are purchasing the prints, and the artists who are part of the project are also purchasing prints, so it’s kind of amazing,” Abrahamik said.
“I feel like we’re using so many of our social connections to just reach out to so many people,” Kaplan said. “People are really responsive to it, and it’s really incredible to see people care.”
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