Cultural Connections

Newsletter issue: 
December 2014
News item date: 
Friday, December 12, 2014

By Mikhaila Moynihan (Associate Director of Development)

Deacon Patrick Moynihan thanks THP Board Member Susan Prince for her work in coordinating Memphis’s fourth annual Haitian Art Auction. Curated by Christina Moynihan, the event served to highlight the beauty and Haitian culture, an aspect often overlooked among poverty and destruction.

    Memphis is well known for its colorful culture, lively enter-tainment, and art. As such, it is fitting that for the last four years it has hosted an annual Haitian art auction benefiting The Haitian Project. Over the past four years, the event has produced $35,000 in financial support while also greatly enhancing THP’s Memphis community.
For “Haitian Art Auction Kat (4),” The Haitian Project community of Memphis, TN gathered in the reception hall of Bhan Thai, a local restaurant that recruited to the cause by Cathy and Dean Reineking. Susan Prince and Cathy Reineking, both active and versatile members since 1996, coordinated with Alan and Jennifer Bosworth, previous hosts of the annual art auction, to host a wonderful night focusing on Haiti’s oftunexplored cultural and political accomplishments.

Three-time Haitian art auctioneer “K.K” Gross began the live auction in a sobering tone that often accompanies talks of Haiti as she held up the first can-vas for auction — a colorful rendition of the rubble strewn streets in the after-math of the earthquake. She asked, “When you think of Haiti, what comes to mind? The devastating earthquake? Poverty?” After mutters of agreement came from event attendees, K.K. pointed out that the art tells a different story than the common socio-economic assumptions about Haiti: it reminds us of what a beautiful and culturally rich country Haiti is.

Having hand picked each art piece for auction, Christina Moynihan added a story to each piece. After searching for words to describe the post-earthquake piece, she could only describe her lack thereof: “This piece just embodies Haitian culture- I don’t know how to describe it. I can only say that.” Each piece was as colorful and intricate as the next, showcasing the multifaceted culture of Haiti: spanning fishing boats to musicians, a scene of tropical paradise to an artist’s rendition of the Holy Spirit. 
After attending the event, Deacon Patrick Moynihan said, “What I think is more important than even the generous amount of monetary support gained for the project at an event like the Memphis art auction is the positive attitude it builds around our mission of education and the brighter future it crafts for Haiti. Art from Haiti is colorful, beautiful, and unique. Just like our students and their country.” Just as Memphis is a reigning symbol of art and culture, the art auction builds lasting, strong connections between beauty, hope, strength, inspiration and Haiti.