Hungry for Art; Portrait Artist Robbi Firestone’s "Spirit of Santa Fe" Gallery Opening Raises Over $3,000 for Santa Fe's #1 Charity/Food Depot; Attracts Crowd of 300+

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On August 9, 2013, $3,000+ was raised to benefit The Food Depot, feeding New Mexico's hungry citizens. An art event designed to benefit NM's least prosperous residents, portrait artist Robbi Firestone unveiled her "Spirit of Santa Fe" series - her first Santa Fe solo art show in which over 300 people packed Casweck Gallery.

I have no misconceptions about the relevance of my paintings. I'm grateful my work is to create beauty. Yet first and foremost, it's our responsibility to care for one another. That's what's important.

Although Santa Fe ranks in the top 5 of many “Best Of” national lists, including Best Cultural Getaway (Travel + Leisure), Best Food (Rand McNally), and Best Place to Live (Kiplinger’s), NM ranks the poorest state as 30% of children live in poverty. It's also listed as the country's hungriest state.

Unlike many art events that turn a blind eye to social ills, portrait artist Robbi Firestone celebrated Santa Fe by designing her gallery opening to benefit NM's least prosperous residents. She and Casweck Galleries partnered with the The Food Depot, an innovative, health-conscious food bank that strives to end hunger in Northern New Mexico. Last year, it provided close to five and a half million meals to hungry New Mexicans.

The City Different received an entirely new kind of recognition on August 9, when Firestone’s "Spirit of Santa Fe" exhibition was unveiled, far exceeding the city’s borders. News outlets all over the country ran stories about the gallery opening, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, the Beaumont Enterprise, Oklahoma’s Own, and ABC13's The Heart of Virginia. It was also covered by the Santa Fean and featured in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe Journal; the online story garnered 12,000+ likes.

The portrait series captured the inner spirit and outer beauty of Santa Feans who exemplify the City Different, from beloved Retired Judge Mike Vigil, luminous, warm-hearted interior designer Lisa Samuel, and beloved D.O.M. Fiquet Duckworth. Art and commissions were sold, and attendees contributed to a documentary film, answering the question, "What is the spirit of Santa Fe?".

During the opening, Firestone, looking every inch the epitome of modern glamor in a sculptural navy shift, shared a moving story of the hunger she experienced when she was a teenager in New York City, making her own way as a student. In response, attendees donated, Athene Westergaard, owner of Casweck Galleries, matched those contributions, and 3% of the proceeds from the art sold at the show are to be donated to the food bank. Over $3,000 was raised that night. In addition, Firestone encouraged people to join her in volunteering at the Food Depot.

Firestone said, "I have no misconceptions about the relevance of my paintings. I'm grateful my work is to create beauty. To live in the world of Art. Yet first and foremost, it's our responsibility to care for one another. That's what's important."

Firestone's "Spirit of Santa Fe" portrait exhibition will be up at Casweck Galleries through September 9. Along with enjoying the portraits, visitors are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations to drop off in the Food Depot’s collection barrel at Casweck.

Casweck Galleries 203 W. Water St. in downtown Santa Fe features the works of renowned artist Ernest Chiriacka (1913-2010), known for his exquisite historical Western and Native American paintings, as well as his iconic work in the genres of Esquire pin-ups and pulp illustration.

Robbi Firestone is a fine art oil portrait artist known for her sought-after oil portrait commissions, called Spirit Capture Portraits, which deftly reflect subjects’ inner selves, and hopes and dreams, as well as the faces they show the world. Subjects include Michael Beckwith of bestselling book and film, “The Secret,” Bart Millard of best-selling band MercyMe and 3-time Grammy Winner, Keb'Mo'. Learn more about Spirit Capture Oil Portrait Commissions and Robbi Firestone’s work at .

Debrianna Mansini
(505) 913-1435

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