Art for Charity Month is a celebration of creativity and unique problem-solving innovation in America. The event is coordinated by David F. Heatwole and is the first of its kind celebration of arts and charity in the United States of America.
The idea to celebrate arts in a unique and innovative way is an idea that was borne almost two decades ago when the artist, now located in Martinsburg, WV, decided to promote creativity and the arts in a unique way, while raising awareness, funds and supplies for the needy in the neighboring community of Loudoun County, Virginia.
What started as a conception in 1998 is coming to the big stage almost two decades after it was first conceived. While his first real art-for-charity project with the same principles and goals was launched in 2000, with a huge flower shaped art gallery as part of the plans to welcome in the new millennium, the National Art for Charity Month is a larger version of the idea taken up by David.
The coast-to-coast collective celebration of creativity and creative problem solving in America is organized in an attempt to encourage individuals and communities, as well as educating them. of how to participate in artistic creative community collaborations while supporting charities. The event also aims to educate people on the charitable resources available within their communities.
Figure 1: The “Flowering of a Dream”2000 project created in partnership with children of all ages, businesses and civic groups with support from David Heatwole and the Transcendental Arts Council
In 1998 and 2000 in support of Heatwole and his efforts, every municipal governing entity that the artist approached in Loudoun County, Virginia, the second fastest growing county in America at that time, issued the same proclamation recognizing particular months as “Art for Charity Month. One town even supported Heatwole’s efforts by contributing an unsolicited $100 check to his not-for-profit, Transcendental Arts Council. “When that occurred, I knew I was on the right path,” Heatwole said.
Inspired by one of Heatwole’s favorite television shows, The Celebrity Apprentice, the artist envisions, down the road, communities being challenged to work together artistically while also competing against other communities for a milliondollar prize that would go toward the winning community’s charity(s) of choice. Heatwole had not publicly revealed this dream until now, but by a strange series of circumstances in 2009, Heatwole launched an online fundraising campaign for the cause and surprisingly, the only support he received at that time came in form of a $25 contribution from Anthony Senecal, a long-time butler at the Florida estate of mogul, now U.S. President Donald Trump. Heatwole has pondered this odd incident ever since. When asked about this loose tie to “the Donald” Heatwole shakes his head, “I am not really sure. I used to really be in awe of this strange tie and kind of hopeful that maybe we would work together or something. Now, I am really not too sure, but I will say I was rather surprised when he launched his “Make America Great Again” campaign for the top position on Capitol Hill and somewhat optimistic, now I am left wondering who will be fired next.”
To kick off his own personal campaign, to “Artify America”, Heatwole in February of this year began contacting fifty handselected charities from across the United States, that he felt were special because of their creativity, and efforts to support their community. This one-man band, between homeschooling and running errands, calls the charities and shares his appreciation for what they do in their community. He then explains his idea for what is to be the first national Art for Charity Month art auction and invites them to be the one recipient representing their state to benefit from the auction scheduled for 2018. Heatwole notes that because he is only using his art for this first auction he is able to give 100% of the profits to the charities. The artist admits that his offer has been met with mixed responses from the organizations he has contacted so far. He felt a little defeated after two organizations turned down his offer, something he admits he hadn’t anticipated. With having a couple states unrepresented by charities, he put everything on hold while trying to “figure things out”. During this time Heatwole has gone on to show his sincerity for the cause by painting his message on a 53’ tractor trailer with a fellow artist Anthony Jones, from Maryland. The two large mobile murals include the message “Support Art for Charity Month” and Heatwole hopes this will inspire people to question what he’s doing and assist him in carrying out such a huge vision.
Figure 2: Passenger side of a 53’ trailer owned by Oleg Salcutan of Hagerstown, MD. Painted by artist Anthony Jones of Hagerstown, MD and West Virginia artist David Heatwole
In addition to overseeing the scheduled 2018 auction, David Heatwole is managing an art for charity campaign to raise money for Texas via the sale of a special release of 1000 limited edition prints of one of his personal favorite paintings. All profits from the sale of the prints will be donated to the American Red Cross to manage the crisis situation in Texas and help bring some relief to victims of the disaster.
Heatwole’s vision for what he hopes will become a nationally celebrated event is not only a chance to help charities and the communities that they serve, but also a potential platform for artists to showcase their unique talents and reach a wider audience. The National Art for Charity Month is coming at the right time, with members of communities across the nation needing more collaborations and interactions.
Figure 3: “Turn on your love light” is a special release of 1000 prints by David Heatwole. They are signed and numbered with 100% profit going to American Red Cross.
About David Frederick Heatwole
David Heatwole is an 11th generation artisan living and working in Martinsburg, WV. He has been married to Dawn Heatwole since 2000 and together have 5 children. In 2009 the couple were nominated and awarded the title “Angels in Adoption” for the state of West Virginia by U.S. Congressional Committee for opening their home up to foster children and for adopting children from West Virginia and Russia.
For many years Heatwole devoted himself to his family and put a hold on his artistic mission, but during this time his dream of making the world a better place, using his passion for art and creativity, was never far away. With the kids getting older and David having more time to get back to work, he has used his skills to beautify his home community with murals and has launched a couple of charity campaigns, one of which is the National Art for Charity Month.
Figure 4: David Heatwole, 1st U.S. Arts Ambassador promotional photo. Photography by Jeremy Wolf
Figure 5: The Heatwole’s 2011