MMI's "Arts for Hearts" benefit raises more than $3,000

by Kimberly Bryant, UNMC public affairs | August 08, 2003

picture disc.
Artist Doug Hardegan created rock vases for the "Arts for Hearts" benefit. He is pictured in the photo with Nicole Norlin-Giron.
The second annual "Arts for Hearts" benefit raised more than $3,000 in funds for UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute recreational therapy department.

The benefit, sponsored by the Lewis C. Meyer Foundation, was created to establish an endowment for recreational programs for adults with developmental disabilities. "The idea was that the adults would help themselves," said Nicole Norlin-Giron, special projects coordinator. "The fund-raiser served as an empowerment tool."

MMI's recreational therapy programs, including a Thursday evening program and Saturday morning swim program, provide social opportunities that help enrich the lives of participants, while delivering quality respite care for families.

picture disc.This year's benefit featured the work of 50 artists - all age 21 or older -- from the MMI recreational program, said Michael Crawford, Re.D, director of the recreational therapy program.

More than 350 items consisting of paintings, ceramic artwork, sculptures and birdhouses were sold during the two-day event in May. "We sold 90 percent of what we had," Norlin-Giron said.

Crawford and Norlin-Giron have each expressed ideas for next year's benefit.

picture disc."We hope to bring in the greater art community and have patron artists donate to build sales," Crawford said. "Some of the items were popular and sold out quickly. We want to shape our collections next year based on comments we received."

They also want to increase public awareness of the event and the recreational programs that serve those with developmental disabilities. In addition, they plan to add such jewelry as ceramic pins and bracelets to next year's benefit.