Art for Charlie Foundation Holds Annual Art Auction
EAST LANSING - When a child dies, no one wants to talk about it. It’s sad, it’s morbid. But art is perceived to be the exact opposite of that, and it’s art that one family is using to bring attention to a cause that is close to their heart.
“It was an amazing success, yeah, I think it was probably the best auction we’ve had so far,” said Art for Charlie founder John Waller.
John Waller and his wife Abby are the founders of the Art for Charlie foundation, which is named after their son Charlie. The non-profit organization raises money for families who have lost a child, and promotes pediatric palliative and hospice care, all through art.
“The most important thing about the mission is the need to enrich lives," said Waller. "We feel that art is a particularly fine way to enrich lives.”
Charlie was just five years old when he passed away from an incurable brain stem tumor, a disease he battled for much of his life. After his diagnosis, the family was looking for ways to help others in a similar situation, so in 2011 they held the Art for Charlie art show.
“And it worked," said Art for Charlie Executive Director Richard Graham- Yool. "And if something works, you do it again. and again, and again,”
Now five years later, the Art for Charlie foundation has grown even larger.
“This began as very much a family affair, but has evolved over the years to be a really really efficient group of people,” said Waller.
“It gives us pleasure to be doing something that not just raises money, but brings art to the community and I think helps Michigan artists become known,” Graham-Yool said.
One of those artists is Dustin Derrick from Williamston.
“Couldn’t think of a better organization to get behind," said Derrick. "The people are great, and the art here is top notch.”
By taking something so ugly, and creating something so beautiful, the Waller family has brought an entire community together, and attention to an important issue