Typhoon Haiyan, reportedly one of the strongest tropical cyclones in history, hit the Philippines on Nov. 8 with such devastating force that it ripped homes from foundations and destroyed entire communities.
News reports claim almost 6,000 people were killed, more than 1,000 are still missing and more than 4 million are still displaced. It will likely take years for the damaged nation to recover.
Ryan Sanchez, a professor of illustration at Savannah College of Art and Design, says he felt personally obligated to find a way to help victims of the super typhoon after learning of the disaster. Sanchez is of Filipino heritage and says his parents were very close to many of those storm victims who are still missing.
"The typhoon hit on Friday, and I started putting out emails on Sunday that I wanted to put together an art benefit auction to raise funds, and I got over 100 artists to respond in a week," Sanchez says. "I had no idea this would get so big so fast, but it's a great problem to have."
Sanchez will host the Typhoon Haiyan Art Benefit and Auction on Jan. 10 at the former Silver's 5 & 10 Cent Store.
"We are going to have over 200 pieces of artwork from archival prints, digital printouts of original artworks, photographs, paintings and I have one sculpture. And we have everything ranging in size and retail value," he says.
Sanchez is tasked with curating the event and silent auction and says he is not putting a value or minimum bids on any of the works.
"Everything has been donated, so there are no minimums bids or holds - you could end up getting a really nice piece of artwork for a great deal," he says.
For a suggested $10 cash donation at the door, guests will be able to peruse the huge array of art donated by local and international artists. Bidder sign-in will begin at 6 p.m. and bidding will end at 10 p.m.
Sanchez said there will be wine, also donated, and catering is being donated by Brasserie 529, Butterhead Greens CafÃ© and Betty Bombers.
All proceeds will be given to the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.
Sanchez says that after much research, he found NAFCON provided the best source to get the most money directly to the most needy people.
"There are so many countries and entities helping out in the relief efforts, but what we are dealing with is a third-world country with a corrupt government in place, and so it's hard to get the money to the people who need it the most.
"What I am finding out is the Red Cross has a higher overhead, so by the time the money gets over to the people who need it ... and then the government dips in on that, they are seeing pennies on the dollar that actually go to the people who need it.
"NAFCON ... is a grassroots alliance of national organizations with strong ties to the Philippines, and they have crews on the ground in the area and they can bypass the bureaucratic red tape.
"A friend of mine ... is really involved with them and she just got back and is reporting the progress to me," he says.
To view some of the works ahead of the show, visit the Typhoon Haiyan Art Benefit and Auction Facebook page. People can also make donations directly to NAFCON at nafconusa.org.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone who has donated art or services to this event," Sanchez says. "I can't believe how great everyone has been."