Artists Offer Painting Collection to Help Illiterate Learn to Read

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Got $62,000 you’d like to donate to help illiterate adults learn to read? A couple of artists in Florida are hoping to find such a philanthropist and reward him or her with a complete collection of 63 of their original plein-air oil paintings of Florida landscapes.

Two Florida artists are offering a collection of sixty-three original plein air oil painting landscapes to one generous art loving donor as a thank-you for a tax-deductible donation of $62,000 to the Marion County Literacy Council, in Ocala, Florida, so that illiterate adults will be able to learn to read.

Locally known to radio listeners as Larry Whitler and Robin MacBlane, heard weekday mornings on The Source WOCA, and known to music lovers worldwide as “Robin And The Giant” and art lovers as “Bathing Nodine Art,” the duo has been nominated as candidates in the annual Kiss The Horse fundraiser to benefit The Marion County Literacy Council.

Last year, Whitler, with MacBlane as his campaign manager, won the fundraising competition by a mere $4.27 after turning in donations totaling $7,542.27 to the Marion County Literacy Council. As the candidate with the largest donation Whitler was granted the honor of kissing a horse at the grand finale event held at one of Marion County’s well known and prestigious horse farms.

The money raised by Whitler and MacBlane was the result of an attempt to create a publicity stunt by offering one original oil painting as a gesture of thanks to anyone who would donate $1,000 to the Literacy Council. The offer was issued as a news release and submitted to all the news agencies in the country.

The duo didn’t actually believe anyone would come through for the paintings but, instead, expected the announcement to attract attention to a self-published calendar featuring photos of twelve of Whitler’s paintings which was for sale on the internet and which would generate a $10 profit for each one sold. The plan was to then donate those profits to the Marion County Literacy Council.

Much to their surprise, an art lover and artist himself (who asked to be kept anonymous), took them up on their offer and donated $7,000. “We couldn’t believe it,” remembers Whitler who says the donation was paid in cash. Seven paintings were then selected by their generous donor.

Whitler and MacBlane decided then to paint as many plein air oil landscapes during the coming year so that when it was time again for the Kiss The Horse campaign they would attempt to replicate the previous year’s fundraising effort but with a larger goal and, of course, with more paintings.

After eleven months of visiting Florida State Parks throughout central and north Florida nearly every Saturday, Whitler and MacBlane counted sixty two paintings in their collection and then, in September of 2012, began publicizing their plan to find their sole philanthropist who would be interested in the artwork and in the work of the Marion County Literacy Council. A sixty-third painting was later discovered in the trunk of Whitler’s car, where he had left it to dry, explaining why the duo’s final count comes to 63 paintings to be gifted to the donor who makes a tax deductible donation of $62,000 to the Marion County Literacy Council.

An internet campaign has begun in an attempt to locate that one art loving philanthropist who will make the donation and then accept the paintings as a gesture of thanks. The money raised by Whitler and MacBlane, as well as the other candidates in the Kiss The Horse campaign, will help pay for the costs of educating illiterate adults so that they may then know how to read.

The Marion County Literacy Council is on a mission to change the lives of illiterate adults who find their way into the Council’s classrooms for the gift of literacy. Illiterate American adults live a secretive existence often hiding their inability to read from their families and their closest friends. The gift of literacy literally changes their lives to be more enriched, to improve their potential for a higher paying job, and to engage in the modern world of e-mail and texting.

For more information on the offer by Whitler and MacBlane go to:

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