Eckerd College’s GO Pavilion filled with the chatter of student artists raising money for a good cause. During the evening of Dec. 2, the campus chapter of Artists for Impact hosted an artisan fair, which not only promoted Eckerd artists but also will provide Hurricane Ian relief to the College’s neighbors to the south.
All event-entry ticket sales (ranging from $5 in advance to $10 at the door) went to the Red Cross to support victims of the Category 4 hurricane that hit Florida in late September, devastating communities in Southwest Florida. Some students have been personally impacted by the storm, causing an outpouring of community support with several fundraising and awareness events held at Eckerd throughout this semester.
AFI is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and aims to “provide a platform for artists and give back to the communities around us.” In 2021, AFI established its first collegiate chapter at Eckerd College, under the leadership of Willow Hart ’22 and current senior Gillian Probert.
Previously, AFI held two on-campus artist fairs that raised $1,000 for both the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and Community Action Stops Abuse.
Gillian, a co-president of AFI and a management and visual arts student from San Diego, California, says events like these serve a dual purpose: raising money for a good cause and helping student artists sell their art in a professional setting. “[Artisan fairs] are super important to give artists a chance to practice selling their art and to show that we can gather and help our community with our talents,” she says.
Willow Hart (left) and Gillian Probert established the first collegiate chapter of Artists for Impact at Eckerd College. View more photos from the event
At this semester’s fair, more than 40 artists sold their wares—offering items like handmade jewelry, pottery, paintings, thrifted clothing and antiques. For entertainment, a musical lineup of 10 student bands and musicians performed, filling the GO Pavilion with unique music while students, faculty and staff shopped. By evening’s end, over $1,000 was raised for the cause.
According to Gillian, the AFI club plans to hold an artisan fair every semester. Its next project is finishing a community mosaic to be placed on the Eckerd College Community Farm.