Edina Artist Megan Rye Raises Funds to Fight Homelessness

For the first time, the MIA will host the 2018 Simpson Housing Services' "Art 4 Shelter" event, a nonprofit organization that works to find both short- and long-term affordable housing for individuals, families and children experiencing homelessness.
A sample of artwork that will be available at this year's sale.

In 2011, Art 4 Shelter held its first fundraising event for Simpson Housing Services, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization that works to find both short- and long-term affordable housing for individuals, families and children experiencing homelessness. This year, the art charity event is moving to two of Minnesota’s cultural landmarks.

“I think what this is an extraordinary example of is when one ‘ordinary person’ in the community can have an idea that can lead to changing a lot of people’s lives,” says the nationally recognized artist from Edina, Megan Rye.

In a first for the event, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) will play host to the hundreds of pieces of donated art the event sells. The art sale takes place on May 9th from 7–8 p.m. with a preview beginning at 6 p.m. There will also be a ticketed luncheon on the same day from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. A separate Art for Shelter preview will be installed in the Guthrie’s donor lounge in April to coincide with the theater’s opening of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (April 13).

“It’s a place artists aspire to be,” says Megan of the MIA. Megan’s work was featured at the museum in her first solo show titled I Will Follow You Into the Dark in 2007. “For art collectors, art lovers, art patrons… [MIA] is often a first connection to the art world.”

Megan recalls her mother, Karen Rye, calling her to suggest they do an art fundraiser to support Simpson Housing Services. At the time, Karen was on the board of the organization and served on its development committee. She wanted to come up with a fundraiser that was open to the public.

Since that first event, the $500,000 raised to date covers the private funding required to operate the shelter for a full year. That’s approximately 16,000 nights of shelter.

“We’re all about welcoming people and treating people with respect,” Karen says of the nonprofit. “It’s an honor to support the life-saving work that Simpson Housing Services’ talented and compassionate staff dedicates themselves to each day.”

“It’s not just a stop-cap measure. It’s trying to go from homelessness to permanent housing,” adds Megan.

Pieces at the event are sold for between $35-$75. The minimum price of $35 for artwork sold at the event equals the cost of providing one night of emergency shelter, warm meals and supportive services.

Since the first event in 2011, $500,000 raised [...] That’s approximately 16,000 nights of shelter.

The deadline for submissions to this year’s Art 4 Shelter fundraiser is April 20 and the event will accept work done on paper from all artists as long as it fits the required dimensions of 5x7 inches.

The artworks remain nameless save for the artists’ signatures on the back.

“People are choosing artwork based on what they love, not who’s work it is,” says Megan. “Work is priced the same whether it’s a famous artist or a student or a hobbyist.”

“Artists go out of their way to give us their best work.” Steve Horsfield, executive director of Simpson Housing Services says, “Art 4 Shelter is a tremendous collaboration, leveraging the energy and compassion of the arts community to generate significant financial support for our shelter program. The event also serves to raise awareness of the ongoing housing crisis in our community.”

Attend this free event:

Wednesday May 9th 6–7 p.m. preview and 7-8:00 p.m. art sale.

Pieces are for sale at $35–$75.