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Art for food

Local artists again offers her work in return for tzedakah

This is among the pieces of her work — this time, collages — that Miriam Stern is offering in return for charitable donations.
This is among the pieces of her work — this time, collages — that Miriam Stern is offering in return for charitable donations.

Last winter, Miriam Stern of Teaneck, a visual artist, realized that she had more of her own art than she can display — she sells her work, but prefers to spend more time creating than marketing (that’s why she’s an artist, not a marketer!). She also knew that there were enormous needs all around her, both close to home and farther away.

A few months, later, the the pandemic began, and the needs increased.

Back then, it occurred to her that she could combine two goals — getting her art into people’s homes, where it would give pleasure rather than collect dust — and raising money to help other people.

She decided to sort of sell her work online. So last June, She posted some of her pieces; everything she put up online cost $200, although in prepandemic regular life each would have cost far more, and the prices would not have been uniform. She also posted links to four charities. She asked buyers to pick a cause, click on that link, donate at least $200, and then send her the receipt. She did not profit from the sale — except from the knowledge that she’d done something good — but the charities did. (And so did the buyers, who get not only the art but the tax deduction as well. It’s 100 percent tax deductible.)

She also offered to arrange to have the art framed, should buyers want it. That cost did not go to charity, but was paid directly to the framer, who offered a discount to all Ms. Stern’s buyers.

She raised more than $7,000, and had to put up more art after her original pieces were gone.

That was then. Now, Ms. Stern is doing it again.

Now as then, she asks would-be buyers to donate to one of four organizations — two are local, one is national, one is in Israel. One is secular and the other three are Jewish. They are the Center for Food Action in Englewood, Tomchei Shabbos of Bergen County, Mazon, and Leket Israel.

From November 29 to December 6, links to her art will be posted at MiriamStern.net/Art-to-Feed-the-Hungry, along with information about the charities.

As Ms. Stern says, “it’s a win-win!”

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