By Elva Zevallos
Professional artists and those who’ve suffered trauma unite to auction art for Artists for Trauma
From L to R: Lasse AErthøj, Laura Sharpe, Shayna LaBeouf and Ariyana Gibbons Photo: Artists For Trauma
LOS ANGELES, CA (Hollywood Daily Star) 2014/6/1 – “The inspiration for this group was to give back the blessings of that in which I received,” says Artists For Trauma founder Laura Sharpe. In 2008, Sharpe was on a helicopter flight to Two Harbors, Catalina Island. The flight was only fourteen minutes in duration and was almost completed when the engine malfunctioned shortly before landing. The helicopter crashed from an altitude of 300 feet.
Of the six passengers on board, there were three fatalities. Although Sharpe survived, the crash left her with 43 fractures, severe brain injury and the near loss of her left eye. The recovery process would prove to be long, painful and ultimately, inspirational in that Sharpe was able to reach beyond traditional medicine during her healing process and in doing so, discover an opportunity to help others.
“I was able to work specifically, closely and collaboratively with six of my closest friends who are very well established artists,” says Sharpe. “Because of the quality of that experience, I was able to transcend and I’ve been so grateful. I’m just driven to share this blessing because I have the capability to do so.”
Collaboration with artists such as photographer and filmmaker Judy Starkman, served to help distract Sharpe from the pain that she endured during her recovery and was the driving force behind the founding of Artists For Trauma.
The important role that the power of art played in her recovery inspired Sharp to form the non-profit organization, Artists For Trauma. This charity serves trauma survivors, both civilian and military by pairing them up with established artists from various fields. The very first fundraiser for Artists For Trauma was sponsored by BoConcept at their La Brea location store in Los Angeles on May 17th.
Sharpe, now beautifully recovered from the helicopter accident of six years ago, was on hand to oversee the festivities. Among the events of the evening was the unveiling of the official logo for Artists For Trauma created by Stan and Tricia Evenson of Evenson Design Group. Artist Shayna LaBeouf, mother of actor Shia LaBeouf, donated $2,000 from her recent art show which was held at JNA Gallery in Bergamot Station, Santa Monica.
Invited guests participated in a silent auction for works by established artists such as Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha and Robert Williams. Student artists who joined Artists For Trauma as part of their recovery process, such as Melissa Allensworth, also had art auctioned for charity.
Richard Prince. Untitled from Cowboys and Girlfriends
“Six years ago, I was involved in a roll over car accident,” says Allensworth. “I was driving while intoxicated, flipped my truck and suffered a T4, lower body paralysis, spinal chord injury. I’m very fortunate to be alive and I’m very fortunate that I was the only car involved and that I didn’t hurt anyone else.”
Melissa Allensworth, Photo: Elva Zevallos
It was while Allensworth was working to improve her upper body strength at Next Step Fitness gym that she met Laura Sharpe and was encouraged to attend the workshops offered by Artists for Trauma. During this time, Allensworth studied with the artist Wana Klasen and was herself inspired to take up painting. Allensworth drew upon her love for the ocean to create the artwork.
Painting by Melissa Allensworth Photo: Elva Zevallos
“A lot of our stores around the world do this work with different artists that they bring in and events,” says Los Angeles BoConcept store owner Lasse AErthøj. “Whatever we can do to give back to the local community that we have, it’s up to each franchise to do that work. The whole philosophy that the company was founded on back in 1952 was that there had to be functionality and value for money. So, everything that you see in the store had some sort of multifunction and then of course was developed over the years that it also has to fit modern living.”
BoConcept, the Danish manufacturer of high end contemporary furniture, is known for its sleek, contemporary design furniture. BoConcept furniture has been featured on The Apprentice and is in the upcoming HGTV show The Jennie Garth Project.
Refreshments at the BoConcept Fundraiser for Artists for Trauma were provided courtesy of NiceCream, Copenhagen Pastry and AGA-VIE cocktails.
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