Coupeville artist plans to help
July 3, 2008 · Updated 1:33 PM
"For more information on the Stellar Arts Foundation visit www.stellararts.org or call Stella Canfield at 678-0838.Coupeville artist Stella Canfield teaches a watercolors class at the Coupeville Art Center. However, through the new not-for-profit organization she has recently formed, Canfield and fellow artists teach lessons in art that result in much more than simply artwork.The Stellar Arts Foundation's motto sums it up: Self-worth and self sufficiency through the arts. The artists teach art as a way to rise out of hopelessness and poverty. And they do it in places like Bulgaria, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, and Costa Rica.Through money raised by artists tours to the three countries, the Stellar Arts Foundation has adopted an orphanage in Bulgaria and is planning a senior citizens' center in Georgia. In both places, kids and old people are the most affected by the fall of communism, Canfield said. Teaching art skills to the young and old will enable them to produce products for resale, thereby supporting themselves, as well as the orphanage and the senior center. Canfield's plan for the foundation arose from her desire to work on a global level to help people preserve their culture and (remain) in their homeland, she said. The children in the orphanage will learn a valuable skill that may carry into future careers in the arts, and the senior citizens will support their own gathering place though sales of their products.Referring to the senior citizens in Georgia, Canfield said these are a proud people, educated people, and they are forced to beg on the streets. The senior center will provide them with a place to gather and a warm meal, yet will now be a hand-out.Although the foundation is working toward benefitting the people of Bulgaria, Georgia and Costa Rica, artists participating in tours of those nations are not required to participate on the charitable side of the foundation's work. The charitable work is performed by a group of artists who have offered their services. The cause will not be forced upon them, Canfield said, but they'll contribute indirectly to the cause.Participating artists may have the opportunity to learn about the charitable side of the foundation, and may contribute if they choose.The groups' main purpose for the trips will be to introduce artists to the cultures of the three countries, which many artists have never before visited. Bulgaria and Georgia are, spectacularly beautiful countries, said Canfield. Artists will find a great many sources of inspiration and unique subject matter for their paintings.Canfield, who is from Bulgaria, took the first group of artists to Bulgaria last June. We took 21 Americans. Thirteen were artists and the rest were spouses, Canfield said. Many of the artists went out of pure curiosity, Canfield said. The June trip was followed by a trip to Georgia in October. Canfield said that both trips were successful, and she has received much positive feedback.Future trips are in the planning stages. "