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Artist working for Africa

Mixed-media artist Kat Strickland took a family trip to Africa in December 2010, never knowing that she would find new people to love. After returning to Colorado Springs, the Business of Art Center-based artist knew she had to help the people who had welcomed her with open hearts.

What better way than to use her artistic talents? After researching various organizations, she decided to work with Kilimanjaro Young Girls in Need, based in Moshi, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

KYGN, which was established in 2007, serves more than 50 children at its nursery school and sponsors about 60 others at nearby primary and secondary schools. The nonprofit strives to give girls the educational, emotional and practical tools to better their futures. Funding is needed to maintain the buildings, buy supplies and food, and pay teachers. Salaries for the three teachers and one cook total $230 per month, and the school’s medical supplies total $33 per month. The school receives no government support.

11 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 4 and 5, Strickland will host beadmaking for children, a slide show of her trip to Africa, and authentic food prepared by a Senegalese artist. African-inspired art will be for sale, along with jewelry, greeting cards and items handcrafted from recycled materials. The activities are free and will take place at the Business of Art Center, 513 Manitou Ave. in Manitou Springs.

4:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 11, artists from the United States, Senegal and Panama will sell their work, and 30 percent of proceeds will go to KYGN. Yobel Market will furnish handmade baskets for sale. The evening, at The Warehouse restaurant, 25 W. Cimarron St., will feature a raffle, a silent auction, and authentic African dancing, drumming and music. Children are welcome to attend and will be encouraged to take information to their schools.

Raffle prizes include gift certificates to local restaurants such as Il Vicino, Craftwood Inn and Amanda’s Fonda; and a large stuffed animal from Wells-Fargo Bank. Raffle items, including artwork, are still being accepted. Tickets are $5 each, $12 for three and $20 for five. They will be for sale up to about 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 11; to buy tickets, contact Strickland at katartstudios@yahoo.com or Anabela Crooks at 439-5066.

KYGN will receive all proceeds from Strickland’s art sales on Nov. 4 and 5, the raffle, donations and other direct contributions. Strickland hopes to raise $10,000, then will raise more funds so that she can teach art at KYGN.

Donations of clothing and school supplies are accepted, but a better way to help is by giving funds through the website; computers will be available at both events. Donors may also write checks, which will be wired directly to KYGN through Wells-Fargo Bank, or sponsor a child through the website. Donations are tax-deductible.

For more information or to donate art or other items, contact Strickland, 719-313-3962 or katartstudios@yahoo.com.

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