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    Habitat auction to raise funds

    By BRANDY STARK

    © St. Petersburg Times, published May 16, 2001


    CLEARWATER -- After 15 years of building houses, Pinellas Habitat for Humanity is trying its hand at something new -- art.

    For the first time, Habitat is hosting an art auction to raise money to be used to help the group construct houses for needy families.

    The art auction features works donated by more than 135 local, national and international artists including photographer Clyde Butcher, painter Peter Max, painter and sculptor Rebecca Skelton, multimedia artists Karlinda and Todd Ramquist and jeweler Mary Cline.

    Painter Luis DeLama, known for his work with sports celebrities, is donating a portrait worth $10,000.

    "I am overwhelmed at the response of the art community," said Cory Adler, executive director of Habitat of Pinellas. "We have art from the local area coming in, and we have also gotten works from all over the country, even from countries outside the U.S.

    "It's an amazing thing for us to have that kind of support."

    The event on Friday starts with a free tour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. of a recently completed Habitat house at 522 McLennan St. Artwork from students at Perkins Elementary and John Hopkins Middle School will be available for purchase.

    "It's our hope that by doing this we will make the public aware of the many ways in which contributions of time, talents, money and donations are used by the Pinellas Habitat for Humanity," Adler said.

    The second part of the program is the Art Auction at the Harborview Center at 300 Cleveland St., which will feature the work of the more accomplished artists. A one-hour preview of art, jewelry and crafts starts at 6 p.m.

    A live and silent auction will run from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets for the auction, at $35 per person, can be bought at the door.

    All proceeds will benefit Pinellas Habitat for Humanity and future building endeavors to eliminate poverty housing in the county.

    Families eligible for Habitat houses must donate 400 volunteer hours and provide a $500 down payment for a house. Habitat makes no profit and charges no interest on the homes.

    - For information, contact Leslie Killian of Pinellas Habitat For Humanity at 894-1522.

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