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People Magazine

Portland Art Curator Donates Proceeds from Her Online Gallery to Feeding America Food Bank Anywhere from 20-50 percent of Cool Art House's proceeds will be donated to Feeding America's food banks

 By Joelle Goldstein April 14, 2020 08:04 

A Portland artist and digital gallery curator is doing her part to help those affected during the coronavirus pandemic by donating a portion of her proceeds to the hunger-relief organization, Feeding America. Back in February, De Camille, 41, had no idea that COVID-19 would hit the country — and her personal life — as hard as it did. Within weeks, the mother of two watched as her husband joined the millions getting laid off from their jobs and her own future art endeavors became uncertain. “It was hard, I was in denial,” she tells PEOPLE. “It threw us in a tailspin. We were very much in shock.” As she struggled to care for her family and promote her work — as well as the work of the artists that she features in her online gallery, Cool Art House — De Camille suddenly realized how she could make an impact with what she had in front of her.

“I was watching Jimmy Fallon and every day there’s a different fundraiser. One of them was Feeding America,” De Camille explains. “[At that time], I was looking around and asking people for charities that they felt would help enough people as fast as possible.” “I’m thinking to myself, ‘I know I just have art, but how can I help people with my art?” she recalls. “Because at the end of the day, I really don’t care if the piece sells for $5000 or $100, I just want to have a way to keep doing what I love, and if I don’t have the money to outright donate to Feeding America, I have to make use of what I do have.” 

“Vulcan” Pear Emerald by S.P.

Part of her inspiration to help food banks, in particular, also stemmed from what she felt was a “basic” need that others didn’t have access to. “This isn’t just helping people start up their businesses again, which is very important, but it’s feeding people,” she says. “Sitting in our house and thinking, ‘Yeah, we don’t have any money coming in. Yeah, we’re a little bit nervous about the future’ — it’s a lot different than being nervous about or being hungry for your next meal.” After reaching out to Feeding America and figuring out a way to help both the food banks and her artists, De Camille decided to donate anywhere between 20-50 percent of the artwork proceeds, depending on the piece, to the hunger relief cause. 

“Warrior” by Gerry

All of the art that is currently featured on Cool Art House’s website is included in the Feeding America partnership. Artwork designs vary in size, medium, and category, which include abstract art, icons and pop art, retro/laidback art, and palm art. Prices range from $40 to $5000 and De Camille even has an option on the site where users can use augmented reality to preview artwork on their walls in real-time. Buyers who are curious to know what percentage will be donated to the food bank can find out at the time of their purchase or by contacting De Camille.

“Give Gratitude” by Positive Pop

“Marine Enso” by Andrew

Though she has her own struggles to worry about, the Oregon-based art curator says having this project to focus her attention on has been beneficial. “We’re still very much in an unknown territory,” she says. “But reinvesting in ourselves and remembering that we’re going to get through this [is how we will keep moving forward.]” At this time, De Camille says she does not have an expected end date for the partnership in mind, but that she anticipates it continuing at least until the pandemic has ended. “I’m letting this go its course,” she explains. “Even if [the pandemic] were to end tomorrow, people would still be needing the support, help, and food for weeks and months after. I don’t mind it being past the point where we’re forgetting to wear a mask anymore.”

For those who do purchase a piece from her gallery, De Camille hopes they always look back on it with a sense of remembrance. “Like the ‘Never Forget’ [phrase] from 9/11,” she explains. “We all went through this together. We all went through this time that we couldn’t be together, that we were in fear of getting sick or affecting everyone else.” “I hope they’ll look up at their art and know they were part of giving back and helping when it was most needed,” De Camille continues. “A lot of people look up at a piece of art and think, ‘I spent too much for that’ but now, at least they’ll have something that they’ll never regret having purchased.” “You can never regret having purchased something that you’re gonna enjoy and helped someone else, and kept artists on their feet,” she adds. Those interested in buying artwork from De Camille’s Cool Art House to benefit Feeding America can do so here. 

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