Food For Thought's annual Art of Giving

Special to The Log

Food For Thought Outreach announces its Third Annual Art of Giving benefit from 6:30-8 p.m. Sept. 17 at v. lala Gallery at 30Avenue, Inlet Beach.

Three local South Walton artists, Velia Lala, Matt Lyons, and Marisol Gullo, come together to auction off their pieces to help fight child hunger in Okaloosa and Walton counties.

As Food For Thought Outreach has grown exponentially as an organization, so have their events and fundraisers. In less than five years, Food For Thought Outreach has gone from serving six children at one elementary school to over 1,200 children a week across 15 elementary, middle, and high schools in two counties during the school year and recently served record numbers of families through their summer outreach programs.

This benefit will help kick off the 2015-16 school year in a big way and this year’s artists are all extremely motivated to give back. All of the artists have been impacted by the organization’s mission in one way or another.

“I feel that child hunger is such an unattended issue. I think it's so great that Tiffanie saw the need and has grown this organization. Anything that can be done in her quest to alleviate child hunger is a great opportunity and I am happy to be a part of it,” says Gullo.

Lyons, who was raised in the Panhandle, is “motivated to be a part of Art of Giving because I like the idea that those who have, come together to support those who have not. I like the idea that I could use my art to help spread awareness in the area where I grew up.” Lala was able to go even one step further and felt she could use her art, and her studio to help the cause.

“I've been to several charity functions with art displayed and it always seems to be a challenge. I offered to host the event at v. lala Galleries in the hopes to better display all the art donated to bring in the most auction dollars possible for Food for Thought Outreach,” says Lala.

Tiffanie Nelson, founder and director, wholeheartedly agrees. “v. lala Galleries is the perfect backdrop for this growing event. As the event grows, we hope to continue to improve the event and we hope that this becomes a highlight every year in the community. We are lucky to have amazing artists come together to help spread awareness and drive fundraising. We feel very lucky to have such amazing support.”

What is Nelson most excited about for this year’s event? “The diversity of styles and mediums of the artists, but they all have a love for inner beauty. That’s something that rings true with Food For Thought Outreach, too — to dig a little deeper and realize that not everything is not always as it appears on the surface."

Lala’s life castings are an art medium that is not easily found in most areas. “I was inspired to learn the life casting process by the fascination of possibly being able to capture the inner and outer beauty of each person. The absolute beauty of uniqueness,” she says.

Gullo finds her inspiration all around her. “I find my inspiration when I see things that are trash, discarded. Sometimes the things that people overlook hold the most beauty, they just need a little love.”

And Lyons, “I find inspiration for my work in anything and everything — often in literature, history, and the ironies of life.”

Tickets will be available for purchase on Aug. 11.

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