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Local church sells artworks for Haitian benefit

NORCROSS -- Christ Church Episcopal has a close connection with Haiti -- it has a partnership with a school, St. Joseph's Episcopal Mission on the island. Saturday and Sunday the church is hosting a benefit called Art for Good to raise money for the small school. Handmade metal structures, paintings and carved statues created by Haitian artists are available for purchase.

"We're doing this because these children don't have anything," Terry Franzen, head of the Chair of Haiti Committee said. "There's no clean water or electricity. It's like nothing that you can imagine."

The majority of art on sale is called "fer forge" or wrought iron which originated in the village of Croix-des-Bouquets in the 1950s. Old scrap metal is transformed into intricate decorations, furniture and frames.

Artists gather 55-gallon steel drums, take off the top and bottoms, cut it horizontally and flatten the metal. They draw patterns with chalk on the steel, then hammer and chisel away unwanted sections to create ornate works of art.

With the art sale, Christ Church will be able to send more money to the school, which is expanding with two new buildings.

"We support the teachers and staff with salaries," Franzen said. "We provide uniforms, shoes and books for the children, and equipment at the school. Education is the way that people in our community and throughout Haiti to help themselves out of poverty."

There are approximately 50 pieces of art for sale. All of the proceeds benefit the St. Joseph's. There is a piano concert with George Skaroulis at 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday.