April 27, 2006

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Concord Publisher's Note: The time has come
By†Dan Szczesny

Starting on Friday, Concord residents will have the unique opportunity to support both a worthy and important non-profit organization and several dozen area artists at the same time. I say time because the event centers around handmade clocks.

Let me explain.

The Friends Program, a social service organization and United Way agency, is teaming up with dozens of local artists for the non-profitís annual fund raising program. But instead of a stuffy banquet where they pass the hat, the Friends have gathered nearly 60 artists who have donated their time to create a series of functional, artistic clocks and other furniture. The art will first be displayed on Main Street for a month, then auctioned off in June.

The non-profit is already familiar with a multi-faceted approach to doing business. One of the many programs the Friends run involves intergenerational programs that create opportunities for seniors to work with children. The group also works with at-risk youth and helps find emergency housing for the homeless.

Worthy causes in their own right, but in working with the artists and the galleries that will display the works, the non-profit is able to reach out to the community at large that may otherwise have no interest or even be aware of what the Friends do. In that way, the group takes a turn toward constructive and fun marketing as well. Itís a lessen other groups should learn.

Hereís how it will work.

Starting on April 28, the clocks and art pieces will be put on display at a variety of galleries and storefronts all around downtown. The displays will remain up through June 9, when the Friends will hold a live auction to raise money. In the meantime, you can go online at www.friendsprogram.org and leave bids there to. You can also get a list of where the art pieces will be on display.

More Art
Speaking of art groups working together. Art Concord returns on May 12, and itís an event worth checking out. This time around, 10 venues from regular galleries like Anderson-Soule to more unusual locations like St. Paulís School will take part in the celebration.

The Hippo, along with the Concord Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event. All the venues will be open late, and many of the artists will be on hand, including some who may be displaying their clocks. Call the Chamber at 224-2508, or check out these pages for more information on what venues will be participating and how to get a map.

Like the Friends auction, Art Concord is an ideal event to not only show off the talents of the cityís art community, but to create a feeling of community and pride.

Itís worth repeating that we get out of our community what we put in. In coordinating these events, these organizations are giving art lovers a chance to rediscover and reconnect with their community, and in the process give back to a worthy cause.


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