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ARTE's 2024 Visions of Justice Fundraiser: A Recap

by Renee Morales (ARTE Intern)

On March 3rd––a crisp, unexpectedly sunny morning in the South Bronx––ARTE's 2024 Visions of Justice fundraiser unfolded with promises of warmth, celebration, and camaraderie. As I ventured out onto the M60, transferring to the express 6 and walking to the inconspicuous doors of the Bronx Brewery, I knew there was an undeniable sense of magic in the air. Finding Cameron and Marissa buzzing through doors with boxes of student zines, art supplies, and merchandise, the day felt especially meaningful, as we met face-to-face for the first time after months of virtual collaboration. Donning our nametags and ARTE paraphernalia, Marissa (Founder and Executive Director), Cameron (Program Director), Jesús (Program Assistant), Aishwarya (Intern), and I embarked on the intricate task of setting up––transforming the brewery into a center of activism celebration.

Funnily, though we set up our art stations, food table, and DJ set indoors, the sun’s presence beckoned our guests out to the Brewery’s backyard. Undeterred, we swiftly adapted, relocating our activities to bask in the glorious sunshine. DJ Sabine Blaizin brought her booth to the outdoor stage to blend the great music with the gorgeous weather, and with some last-minute re-planning, we configured a system to keep event organizers inside and outside the venue to limit confusion. 

Amidst the hustle and bustle, there was a palpable sense of joy and excitement as attendees explored the various offerings of the fundraiser. From puzzle designing stations to a tantalizing spread of empanadas (which I, in particular, found myself a big fan of), each moment was infused with the spirit of community and collaboration. The presence of esteemed guests like Sara Rahbar, our 2024 Visions of Justice award winner, only added to the gaiety. 

“What’s going on here?” an unsuspecting passerby asked when approaching Aishwarya’s and my check-in table. Directing these new friends to the fundraiser program and student zine, they enthusiastically embraced the festivities. From the families looking for a quick bite to the folks seeking a place to drink a refreshing can of cider, witnessing everyone come together to celebrate ARTE’s hard work served as a reminder of the power of art to unite and uplift.

As the day drew to a close, we took a moment to reflect on the significance of our collective efforts. Selling buttons, tote bags, and raffling our mural puzzle sets, the day proved particularly rewarding as we worked to reach our fundraising goal. Despite the challenges we faced, we eventually emerged victorious, raising an impressive $20,000 in support of ARTE's mission. A testament to the unwavering commitment of our community’s faith in the intersection of art and activism, this year’s fundraiser proved the necessity of creative resistance.

Our journey towards a more just and equitable world is far from over, but with the support of our dedicated ambassadors and allies who made the day possible, we are confident in our ability to continue affecting meaningful change. For those still wanting to support our mission, please feel free to join as a recurring donor, as these donations directly support ARTE’s programming at a time when arts programs in schools and the funding for organizations like ours are scarce. 

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