Artists help bring fresh produce to food banks

// See live painting, make a donation and win prizes at Proctor Farmers Market Art-a-Thon

  • FRESH PAINT. Proctor Art Gallery owner Carolyn Burt leads the charge every year to produce the Art-a-Thon, which she also participates in. Here, she paints red cherries at last year's event, inspired by what's for sale at the produce market. (Photo Courtesy Of Proctor Art Gallery)

There’s always something interesting going on at Proctor Farmers Market, but on July 21 something extra-special will be happening when more than a dozen artists set up their easels for the fourth annual Food Bank Art-a-Thon, taking place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Organized through a partnership between the market and Proctor Art Gallery, the art-a-thon raises money for the Northwest FISH Food Bank to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from the market to distribute to food bank clients. As shoppers stroll through the market that day, Proctor Art Gallery artists and invited guest artists will be scattered about creating works inspired by the bounty of colors, shapes and textures found among the farm fresh market goods. Donation buckets will be at each artist station for shoppers to drop contributions into.

Each year the art-a-thon raises about $1,000 and organizers hope to meet that goal again this year. To date, because of the art-a-thon the food bank has purchased $2,789.50 worth of local produce from the Proctor Farmers Market over the last three years.

As of this May, the FISH Food Banks of Tacoma have served more than 231,000 Pierce County residents, an increase of 39 percent during this same time last year. The Northwest Tacoma FISH Food Bank, adjacent to the Proctor Farmers’ market now is servicing approximately 4,500 individuals each month. While canned goods are a blessing for those in need, fresh produce and the nutritional value it provides is also needed. The Art-a-Thon was designed to fill in the gap and raise money specifically for this purpose.

Artist Carolyn Burt is owner of Proctor Art Gallery. “We’re a community gallery of all local artists and this is our community food bank and farmers market so we’re working as a team,” she said. “We’re really grateful to the market that they’re willing to let us do this. It’s a win/win all way around – the market vendors get sales and the artists get exposure and a chance to show off what they can do.”

Several new things are on tap for this year’s art-a-thon, including jewelry artists. Proctor Art Gallery artist Leslie Thiel will demonstrate glass bead making with a blowtorch, and she will donate a special piece to the art-a-thon for one lucky art-a-thon donor to win in a drawing. In the Kids Booth, featured guest artist Mauricio Robalino will lead young visitors in creating two community mosaic pieces. A drawing will be held for two donors to take the mosaic creations home.

Another chance to win comes with William and Mary Wolfe’s “Rockin’ Critter” they create and donate every year to the fundraiser. In the past the couple has made a dragon and a Victorian rocking horse. Market-goers will have a chance to win the rocker with a donation the day of the art-a-thon.

For those who can’t make it to the art-a-thon but still wish to donate, stop by Proctor Art Gallery at 3811 N. 26th St. and make a donation. Proctor business owners have already pledged $275. 

Artists participating in the art-a-thon include: Mauricio Robalino, Leslie Thiel, William and Mary Wolfe, Tom Bona, Carolyn Burt, Bonnie Cargol, Sharon Crocetti, Gary LaTurner, Kim Wilson, Marquita Hunt, Alexis St. John, Steve Barnard, Autumn Tranquilino, Linda Landig and Maxie Reavis. Learn more about these artists at, and see their art-a-thon works displayed in the gallery next month.


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