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Prints that depict young earthquake victims are being sold as a fundraiser.
Boutique owner and flight attendant Diane Speaks presented a $300 donation to Red Cross CEO Lee Clark for the agency's earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Diane Speaks travels regularly as a flight attendant and businesswoman.
Her Salem boutique, She’s International, is filled with accessories, clothing and other merchandise she’s gathered during her national and international travels.
Recently, she began selling prints made from an original oil painting to help raise money for the American Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund.
On Jan. 7, five days before the three-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti, Speaks presented a $300 check to Roanoke Red Cross officials for Haiti relief.
Speaks, who believes in giving back to the community, has witnessed Red Cross relief efforts, and her donation is an act of reciprocation.
On Sept. 11, 2001 when hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Speaks was on a flight from Amsterdam to Philadelphia. Her flight was diverted when U.S. officials stopped incoming planes.
“I was stranded for three days in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with thousands of American visitors,” the US Airways flight attendant recalled during a telephone interview.
Although she stayed in a hotel, she witnessed the American Red Cross in action, assisting thousands of stranded travelers and tourists by housing and feeding them and helping them with travel and other information.
Since then Speaks has followed other Red Cross efforts. Her interest was piqued more when, while browsing art galleries in the Philadelphia area, she discovered an original oil painting depicting young victims of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
“I saw that one painting, and I couldn’t breathe,” Speaks said. She debated buying “Haiti Rescue,” by Philadelphia artist Lara Cantu-Hertzler, because of its price.
She described the painting as “phenomenal” because of the way it portrays the children’s emotions.
“I thought it was quite strong the way that she was able to capture it all,” said Speaks, who at the time didn’t know that Cantu-Hertzler felt compelled to paint the picture after seeing media broadcasts and pictures of the victims and the devastation from the earthquake.
Speaks left the gallery without buying the work, but went back later. After her purchase, though, Speaks said, she began feeling guilty for keeping the painting out of public view.
“I thought it was selfish to keep it to myself,” she said.
She subsequently met Cantu-Hertzler, “a very talented young lady,” and initiated a plan to raise money for the American Red Cross to help support its continuous relief efforts in Haiti.
Under the agreement with Cantu-Hertzler, Speaks will sell up to 300 prints of the oil painting at She’s International.
Speaks orders the prints in lots of 10 from a Pennsylvania company, and then the artist signs and numbers them.
Each unframed print is $200, and 10 percent of the sale goes to American Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund.
The artist also gets a small percentage, but Speaks would not reveal that amount.
Speaks said five “Haiti Rescue” prints have been given as complimentary gifts, and 17 prints have been sold.
The prints have an image size of 20 by 30 inches, and they are available at She’s International, 112 E. Main St., Salem; or www.shesinternationalboutique.com.
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