By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Southborough – Since last year, artwork has been displayed and sold in a gallery with proceeds going to charities including the New England Center for Children (NECC), a school in Southborough whose mission is to transform the lives of children with autism worldwide through education, research and technology. Some of the artwork is created by NECC students and other pieces by contributing artists.
The gallery officially launched with an open house Oct. 9 in the waiting room of J. White’s Automotive at 1800 Worcester Road in Framingham, near the Southborough town line and close to NECC. This ongoing collaboration was organized by Shirley Warren, the business’s general manager, who felt compelled to help the cause.
“I had a co-worker whose son went to NECC and her story really touched my heart,” she relayed. “It feels great to foster a spirit of community, and to use our space and energy to help others in need. We earned over $700 already for NECC, even before we let people outside of our customers know about we’re doing.”
The students’ artwork continually revolves. When a piece is sold it’s replaced with another. Pieces displayed have been created during art enrichment classes with crayons, colored pencils, markers and paint, explained Courtney Howe, NECC marketing coordinator.
“Unlike typical kids, leisure activities don’t come naturally to our students,” she said. “Our teachers really go out of their way to teach leisure activities, such as art enrichment, for them to do during their downtime.”
The gallery also displays pieces by contributing artists, Warren noted.
“Artists donate pieces of their work and are sold with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to NECC,” she said. “The artists are getting exposure and they’ve made a charitable donation.”
NECC is grateful for this fundraising venue, noted Lesli Cashin, NECC campaign coordinator.
“The money raised goes directly to our annual fund, which covers things that tuition doesn’t cover,” she said. “It goes to supplies like iPads, new furniture, enrichment activities, the prom and field trips.”
Some student artwork will also be included in a silent auction during NECC’s 12th annual “A Night of Music,” to be held Saturday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m., at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. Emceed by Dan Rea of WBZ NewsRadio 1030, the gala will feature dinner, dancing and musical performances by NECC students.
A live auction will include a commissioned piece by a particularly gifted 12-year-old student artist, whose work has previously been featured in this fundraiser. Last year, his piece captured the spirit of Fenway Park. This year, he’s creating a piece based on architectural renderings of a new building that NECC is currently constructing, Howe explained.
“His stuff has been very popular at the auction,” she said “People always look forward to seeing his art pieces.”
For information about the gallery, visit jwhitesautomotive.com/id108.html.