Art auction fundraiser helps restart veterans' lives
Baltimore Station benefits from event at Church of the Redeemer
Madeline White, 16, a Westminister 11th-grader, talks with Michael Siepp, executive director for The Baltimore Station, during an art auction at Church of the Redeemer on Nov. 11. Behind them is a door that White painted and called "The Gate." (Photo by Karen Jackson / November 11, 2011)
“I can give 100 percent,” said the Baltimore native, 58, who served time for assault before learning about Baltimore Station, a long-term residential recovery program for men, many of whom are veterans battling homelessness, joblessness and substance abuse.
Chaney has lived at Baltimore Station in south Baltimore for the past five months.
“It's lovely,” he said.
Residents can live there for up to two years, as long as they remain drug- and alcohol-free. Chaney isn't planning on leaving any time soon.
“This is the longest I’ve ever been sober,” said the bandana-clad Chaney, who rubbed elbows with an estimated 300 people at the annual event called “re-StART with Art.”
Some of the attendees were high school students from around Baltimore County. The students, most members of their schools' National Art Honor Society chapters, contributed paintings and photos, as well as specially painted doors that symbolized doors to recovery for the homeless and addicted men.
The students also served as volunteers, working alongside Baltimore Station residents like Chaney.
“It's all about helping them build new futures,” said Jenna Rohde, a junior at Franklin High in Reisterstown.
Also donating art to be auctioned at the annual fundraiser were professional artists and Baltimore Station graduates, as well as students from the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Baltimore School for the Arts.
Federal Hill restaurants donated food. Second Chance, a nonprofit retail store in Baltimore, donated nine doors that the students painted. Second Chance sells salvage materials and uses the profits to provide job skills training to unemployed people.
“I'm interested in how much it will sell for,” said Colleen Coleman, a Catonsville High School senior, who painted a door that showed a girl surrounded by colors and shapes.
Coleman said her door was intended as a message of hope, to show “how the things all around you can be inspiring.”
Katie McGlone, a junior at Franklin High, painted pastels of a pear to sell at the event's live and silent auctions. Her artwork was labeled “Fruit No. 3.”
“It's actually my first time working with oil pastel,” said the National Art Society member.
Some students were there because their parents are actively involved with Baltimore Station.
Madeline White, a junior at Westminster High, designed a door that depicted a barren landscape in front of a fence and a serene meadow with backlit trees behind the fence.
It also included White’s personal written message, which said, “My nightmares can't follow me into my reality, unless I allow it. My past, my pain is just another nightmare. I don't let it hold me back. I escape.”
White, whose mother, Judith James, is Baltimore Station's volunteer coordinator, was volunteering for the third year in a row. But her door was not part of a school art project.