special contributors

Browse below for shout outs to artists, businesses, and sundry advocates giving their professional expertise, products, skilled labor, time, and effort to provide hands-on help with events and fundraising.  You will find some very talented, generous folk and civic-minded businesses contributing to our cause.


Pat Perry  will melt your brain with his talent.  Click his name to visit his website and see more evidence of the staggering verve and detail in his drawing.  He has generously donated our "heart for Congo" image (see left) despite a backlog of requests for work that would pay him far more than gratitude.  The middle "cutout" shape is that of DR Congo  Thanks, Pat, for your eagerness, and for showing a heart for this cause!

James Simon is an artist beloved in Pittsburgh, where his work is visible in many public spaces; he is responsible for a lot of character around this city, especially with his statues and mosaics. It's worth noting, too, that his generosity of spirit and open home have fostered not only visual arts, but literary arts, as he supported an innovative  project called The Gist Street Readings for the last decade.  For our event he donated one of his cement "garden lady" sculptures, pictured here.  I urge you to look at more of his work by clicking on his name and visiting his website.

Tim Oliveira is a Pittsburgh artist (check out his image of the Point) whose works include silkscreen prints and acrylic paintings.    We are extremely grateful for his contributions to our cause, and the pizzaz of his pieces really brightened up our space and got people bidding.  Concentrating on bright bold colors and clean black lines, Tim's artwork can be found throughout the city.  Click on his name to visit his website, where you will find new prints for sale and can also sign up for his mailing list.  Tim knows that Pittsburgh put pop-art on the map; when you support him, you support a local tradition as well as a deserving artist.

John Fleenor is an artist with a pair of clever hands and a wide-eyed bunny for a muse.   Pittsburgh stole him from Oregon,  where he  now  lives, exhibits, and teaches around the city.  Through the years, he's honed his skills in pottery, painting, and sculpture; he very generously donated several pieces of pottery and painting to our event, including the famous bunny, who lorded over us with his all-seeing gaze.  Click on his name to see more of John's fine work, his good humor, and his productive footprint in our community.

m4w is T. Foley’s playful investigation of the types of images attached to posts within the men seeking women section of craigslist.  The exhibit is currently in the SPACE Gallery, downtown.  Utilizing content from an initial survey of over 5,000 uploaded pics, the artist has designed a small clothing line for women celebrating the range of images posted by men. In m4w, Foley harvests and then sows the visual content from these ads, promoting and subsidizing her work as an artist.

Michael Benedetti has an eye for machinery that he credits to growing up in Pittburgh and working in factories. He sculpts, prints and draws his way to creating pieces of art, inspired by the idea that everything is made up of moving parts.  Michael submitted a piece to our event that explored the nature of mechanical motion.  Click on his name to enter his workspace and see not only his work but a  meditation on the conceptual things feeding it.

The WACONGO Dance Company gave an incredible performance at our event.  They masterfully drummed, sang, and danced, and convinced everyone in the room to join them.  I couldn't have asked for better evidence of the good humor, talent and warmth that we've witnessed in our Congolese friends.  This musical group is  proof positive that Congo will enrich you with its people and its culture.


Rick Schweikert from Save PFEX (Save the Paramount Film Exchange) donated the space for our event.   What a fantastic historical building to host our fundraiser, and what a gracious host!  Rick is restoring this building to its former glory, having narrowly saved it from being replaced by a parking lot.  Click on the link to learn more about this building, its engaging story, and Rick's  admirable efforts to save it for the good of the Uptown neighborhood, and the good of Pittsburgh.

Scott Smith at East End Brewing Company donated a quarter keg  of microbrew for our event, so that we could offer not only something good, but something local to drink.  They have a wide array of award-winning brews, which you can check out by clicking their name above and visiting their site.  If you don't have time to drop by their brewery to see what you can carry away, check out the Tap Spots page, to see if one of your favorite haunts carries any of their beers.  Cheers, and bottom's up, Pittsburghers!

Kim Wynnycky from Whole Foods donated a $50 gift card to our event.  This allowed us to offer some tasty treats with wholesome,  organic ingredients.  Heather, a dear friend of ours who works at Whole Foods, volunteered her time and expertise to make Maandazi, or "African donuts" from  these ingredients; if you're curious about how she made them, click here for the recipe!

Starbucks, Baltimore MDThanks to Manager Sarah Allender, and an extra special thanks to Chris Schatz for his eagerness to help, his advocacy, and supreme packaging skills. Thanks to them, we were able to offer some "make your own coffee tumblers" with African fabric  inserts, giving attendees the chance to take away a little color and Congolese style from our event.