Foto Valpo, a photographic education component of the Valpo Surf Project based out of Valparaiso, Chile, is set to begin in March. On Saturday, Sept. 10 from 3 to 6 p.m., there will be a silent auction to benefit the launch of Foto Valpo at the Slipway Restaurant, off Water Street on the harbor. The event will feature works by local artists and services by local business for silent bid, as well as refreshments and music.

Valparaiso is situated on the northern coast of the country and for the past two years, its youth have enjoyed the work of the Valpo Surf Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth through surfing, environmental awareness and English language education. The goal of Foto Valpo is to enable creativity, personal development and social awareness through the art of photography among at-risk youth and their community in Valparaiso, Chile.

Foto Valpo originated out of a mutual love of photography between Kathryn Armstrong, former Georges Valley High School tennis coach and Rockland Community Sailing coach, and Jon Steuber, one of the four founding directors of the Valpo Surf Project (GVHS alum Wiley Todd is a director as well). Armstrong first showed her own photography via the Farnsworth Art Museum’s Julia‚Äôs Gallery for Young Artists and plans to take principals she learned there and apply them to Foto Valpo, which she will lead under Steuben’s direction.

Armstrong will teach classes with the aid of student volunteers from the United States and local universities. Her current volunteer, Danielle Frye of Cushing, is helping her with this fall’s fundraising season and will journey to Valpo in March for the beginning of the course.

The silent auction at the Slipway will feature works and items from local artists and businesses including Carver Hill Gallery, artist Nancy Baker and the Cashmere Goat. The main item for auction is a weekend vacation rental on Hupper Island good for this fall or next summer.

“We are encouraging everyone to stay for dinner at the Slipway after the event. Suggested donation at the door is $15; however, we will also be accepting donations of digital cameras to the cause,” said Armstrong.

For more information about the nonprofit, visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to