Art on display at the Marriott as part of the Art for Charlie exhibition.
Five-year-old Charlie Waller may have died from terminal brain cancer in 2011, but his legacy continues through the Art for Charlie Foundation, created in his honor to help families dealing with children’s hospice care or the loss of a child. Currently, Art for Charlie is hosting an art show now through May 1 at the East Lansing Marriott at University Place (300 M.A.C. Avenue).
The show is open to the public, who can bid on or purchase all pieces on display. The pieces were created by students in the East Lansing, Okemos, and Grand Ledge schools. “We believe through creative, collaborative artwork at their schools, we can empower them with the knowledge they are helping other children and families in need,” says Tali Hylen, PR Director for the Foundation and friend of the Waller family.
On May 1, the Children’s Spring Art Fair will take place at the Marriott from 2-6:30pm. This event will feature family-friendly art activities, live music by bassist Robert Hollingsworth, and a tea and cookies event called “Charlie’s Pirate Tea.” Tickets will be $5 each. Also on May 1, from 4:30-6:30pm will be the adult “Reception with a Cause” (children can join their parents). An event-special Marriott May Day cocktail will be served with hors d’oeuvres. Tickets will be $25 for adults.
Next week’s event (in addition to an art show and auction in November) was created with a strong intent to help others. “Few people can even imagine need from hospice care for children, and most don’t even want to think about it,” Hylen says. “But Art for Charlie art shows raise awareness and funding to support those that do.” The Foundation helps families dealing with the loss of their child by any means, not just terminal illness. “All money raised goes to improving palliative care for children and to supporting families who have experienced the death of a child,” says Abigail Waller, Foundation President and mother of Charlie.
The use of art to deal with such a serious topic provides a counterpoint to the Foundation’s mission. “We raise money through art because it is a beautiful way to fight this darkness,” Hylen says. The Foundation also boasts about its inclusivity towards artists of all levels. “We welcome contributions for our art shows from both amateur and professional artists.”
The art shows aims to raise as much money as possible for its causes and is planning on a strong turnout this year. If you are interested in the Spring Art Fair on May 1, tickets can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/childrens-spring-art-fair-tickets-24572816957.