Hurricane fundraiser at Midcoast gallery

By Dagney C. Ernest | Oct 07, 2017
Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest A range of artworks is part of a hurricane relief fundraiser at Waldoboro’s Philippe Guillerm Gallery; the 19th-century Fish Block building was a bank for many years.

Waldoboro — Artist Philippe Guillerm and his wife and gallery manager, Jacqueline Guillerm, know the tropical islands recently hit by hurricanes well.

While summer months find them living in downtown Waldoboro, the rest of the year is spent aboard their sailboat Yaya, sailing the Caribbean and collecting driftwood for future sculptures. Things will be different this year, given the devastation wreaked by the recent parade of hurricanes and tropical storms.

“If we don’t go for humanitarian reasons, there’s no reason to go to a devastated island,” said Jackie the last week of September.

Instead, after a couple of months in France, they will sail Yaya from Florida, where it escaped damage, to the Ragged Islands, a string of islands that stretches from the southern tip of Long Island almost all the way to Cuba. They will bring tools, paint, materials, food and medications — and their considerable construction skills — to communities there.

In order to assemble as much as their boat can hold, the Philippe Guillerm Gallery, 882 Main St., is devoting 30 percent of a selection of artworks to the cause. The gallery’s final 2017 show combines work by Philippe Guillerm with those of guest artists featured this year; the hurricane benefit works are distinguished by a stick-on star.

“Everybody’s here! Jim Root, the houses and the dogs; Jean Kigel’s ‘Attic’ paintings and Philippe’s collection of underwater views; Samuel Morgan, who had animals and he left us flowers, also. And I picked some of the sculptures and of course Philippe’s collection from the Bahamas. So I try to get a little bit of everybody into this,” Jackie said.

The gallery’s last day of regular open hours will be the season’s final ArtWalk Waldoboro — Saturday, Oct. 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. But the couple are glad to open the gallery doors by appointment over the following several weeks as they prepare to depart. The Yaya will not be the only sailboat headed to the less-visited parts of the Bahamas with aid. Jackie said friends on Grand Bahama Island and other parts of the archipelago escaped damage, “but they don’t know what’s going on in the Raggeds, because communications have been cut and the little that they have to communicate is gone now.”

So a small fleet of sailboats, many helmed by people who always winter in the Bahamas, will be heading to the Ragged Islands in January, bringing materials and offering help as they can.

“Then we will see what they need — and the needs are pretty much having to rebuild houses and schools, which were already pretty precarious,” said Jackie. “We’re using our boat, because that’s what we have to help.”

For more information and a list of the benefit works, contact the gallery at 701-9085.

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