Charles and Catherine Walldorf with Jill Steenhuis
Three area families, Catherine and Charles Walldorf, Margaret Ann and Jim Bentley, and Alicyn and Garnett Decosimo, hosted an annual art show to raise funds for The Salvation Army Chattanooga Area Command. The Art in Provence exhibit featured recent works from the South of France by artists Jill Steenhuis and her son Sergio Ruffato at the Mountain City Club earlier this week, garnering nearly 150 guests in attendance.
“We have been hosting this event for several years now, and it was a natural fit to transition the celebration last year to a fundraising opportunity for the Salvation Army,” said Mr. Walldorf. “We were excited to bring a small part of the South of France to Chattanooga and to continue supporting the important work The Salvation Army does in our community.”
The Art in Provence exhibit began with an evening reception open to the public and at no charge. The next day’s events included a luncheon and artists’ talk followed by the sale of original oil paintings, drawings, lithographs, metal sculptures and jewelry.
Ms. Steenhuis and Mr. Ruffato are international artists with roots in Aix-en-Provence, a university city in France’s Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, which is the birthplace of post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. Ms. Steenhuis, originally from Atlanta, studied at the Marchutz School of Fine Arts in Aix-en-Provence. She has spent the last four decades painting “en plein air” in the landscapes of Provence and creating art in the tradition of Cézanne and Van Gogh. Mr. Ruffato is a Franco-American artist from Aix-en-Provence and a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design. When he is not working in a studio run by his family in Marseille, France, he is traveling and exhibiting his artwork around the U.S.
Each year, Ms. Steenhuis tours across the U.S. showcasing and selling her art in museums, galleries and private events, many of which act as charitable opportunities for various non-profits. This is the second year that Ms. Steenhuis has used her talents to help sustain The Salvation Army’s work in Chattanooga.
Through her partnerships with The Salvation Army and other non-profit organizations, Ms. Steenhuis advocates her belief in the arts’ healing abilities.
“Art can heal not just in creating it, but also in viewing it. May my soul touch your soul and may you be taken beyond your daily struggles and be given a taste of the eternal,” said Ms. Steenhuis.
A portion of the proceeds from the art sale was donated to The Salvation Army to help fund its programs and ongoing services in the greater Chattanooga area. The Area Command provides a wide variety of programs and services to assist the community including the 614 Corps Day shelter, which opens its doors daily to serve those suffering from homelessness; community services, which ensures Chattanooga’s neighbors stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer; youth programs, which assists children after school with athletics or the arts; and holiday programs, which provides gift assistance for children and seniors in need.
For more information about The Salvation Army and the exhibit, visit www.csarmy.org/art-in-provenc.
Captain Mark Love and Jill Steenhuis