Sculpting a caring community

Artists give a lot to this territory, so it's great to see the community give something back to artists. That's exactly what is happening with the Yukon Artist Relief Fund Society.

Artists give a lot to this territory, so it’s great to see the community give something back to artists.

That’s exactly what is happening with the Yukon Artist Relief Fund Society.

Despite the Yukon’s deep well of inspiration, earning a living in this sparsely populated frontier isn’t particularly easy for fledgling artists.

While developing their talent, many operate close to the poverty line and have little to fall back on when disaster hits and they can’t work.

Which is why the Yukon Artist Relief Fund Society was formed by artist Harreson Tanner, of Yukon Artists at Work, and patron extraordinaire MJ Warshawski, who owns Coast Mountain Sports.

The fund aims to provide a little assistance in times of illness or injury, said Warshawski, the society’s president.

Local artists are known to be generous when it comes to donating work to other causes.

This new fund gives them something in return – money and a little peace of mind.

There are similar funds in other parts of the country, but the establishment of this one was a first for the territory.

While the community has rallied around personal tragedy in the past, the fund represents an effort to get out in front of the problems.

So, those artists who find themselves in a financial bind through some misfortune can apply for assistance. Grants of up to $1,000 will be issued to eligible candidates.

The fund, which was established earlier this year, now has more than $10,000 following a fundraiser in May.

Canvas Confidential featured 61 paintings donated by local artists. Patrons could bid on works, but did not get to know who had painted the canvas until the end of the evening. It was a tremendous success, and a second such event is planned for the fall of 2012.

No doubt, it will shore up the new fund still more.

But, until then, there is a pot of emergency relief money available to people who find themselves in need.

Of course, the best news would be that nobody needed it in the coming months.

But it is no doubt reassuring to have something available if fate paints you into a bleak canvas.

Applications, guidelines and the society’s privacy policy, designed to protect the confidentiality of those seeking assistance, are available at

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