The painted pumpkin patch at Gallery 57 West helps more than your décor
By Diana Beechener
When you decorate your home for fall, you want to stand out. But 12-foot skeletons are sold out at Home Depot and a storage nightmare. Instead, consider investing in a one-of-a-kind pumpkin that is sure to turn heads and help families in need.
The Annapolis Arts Alliance is once again holding Pumpkins for a Cause on October 22, where members of the community can visit Gallery 57 West to buy hand-painted pumpkins designed by members of the Alliance. The yearly event helps the Light House, which is dedicated to homeless prevention and offering shelter to those in need in the community.
Organizer and Alliance board member Audrey Lee believes the popular event draws in patrons every year because of the beautiful art and heartfelt mission behind it.
“People love to donate and give money, but they don’t always know where to donate to make an impact,” says Lee. “This is truly a way people can donate, knowing 100% of proceeds go to The Light House.”
The cause has also brought a new challenge to the Annapolis Arts Alliance, with members using their skills to transform gourds into dynamic works of art. The pumpkins, which are all acrylic or plastic, will last multiple seasons, giving you a distinctive bit of art from a local talent for years to come.
Lee relishes the adventure of figuring out how to approach her pumpkin canvases.
“It gives you a little bit of open creativity to paint a pumpkin,” says Lee, an oil and watercolor artist. Since neither of her mediums of choice are decorative gourd friendly, she’s had to branch out and use acrylic paints. “I painted one with hummingbirds and one with a collage – to do something different.”
Each unique pumpkin is delivered to Gallery 57 West, where it’s priced and displayed. You may want to check out the stock early, as Lee reports the pumpkins are already in high demand.
“It’s a great investment piece you can display for years. These are all by local artists so you can get them in the gallery and display something totally unique.” Once each pumpkin is turned in, Lee and her team price it according to size, time invested, and style. It’s difficult to price painted pumpkins, as it turns out, but Lee and the rest of the AAA have been blown away by the ones they’ve already received. “Some of these artists will put hours into the pumpkin and create designs you’d never think of. We’ve sold out just about every year.”
So far, Lee has seen ornate tiny pumpkins, large intricate pumpkins, and gourds with all different Halloween-themed characters. Giving carte blanche to the Annapolis Arts Alliance has produced some fantastic results already, and pumpkins are already on display in the gallery.
For those who want to wait until October 22, the Pumpkins for a Cause official sale coincides with Annapolis’ Fall Fest on West. Visit the gallery between 2pm and 6pm, buy a beautiful pumpkin that will last years as a conversation piece on your porch, and if your inspired, paint one of your own. Richardson Nursery & Garden has donated 100 pumpkins to the Gallery for children to paint. Fall Fest on West will also feature live music from Alison Thoms, games for kids, Bayside Big Band, Unified Jazz, and dinner under the stars.
Those looking to get more decoration inspiration venture along the Scarecrow Stroll, every light post between the West Street circles will be decorated with scarecrows. Each business along the street has been invited to craft a scarecrow for the season, either representing their business or a spooky theme.
As West Street welcomes fall to Annapolis, don’t forget to welcome a painted pumpkin to your home. Picking up a pumpkin will set your house apart and help save the home of someone in need.
Bring a lightly used or new sweater or hoodie to donate to the #justonesweater drive. If you’d like to donate to The Light House, Gallery 57 West will be accepting monetary donations for their cause. To learn more about giving to The Light House visit annapolislighthouse.org/needs
Pumpkins for Good and Fall Fest on West will be held October 22, from 2-6pm.