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Inspired By Family, Chicago Artists Launch Auction To Aid Puerto Rico

By Diamaris Martino

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A local nonprofit, Arte al Rescate is holding an art auction to raise funds for Puerto Rico on Oct. 27.

The organization's founders,  Erica Sanchez and Janice Aponte, saw the devastation from Hurricane Maria on the island and were inspired to make a difference.

Art show
Erica Sanchez (right) with Janice Aponte (left). (Credit: Erica Sanchez)

The women, both from Logan Square, went door-to-door in efforts to gain support from local businesses.

Over 50 artists donated works that list from $5 to $2,300. Many of the artists have ties to the island.

Both women are directly affected by the hurricane's destruction.

Sanchez's sister is a teacher in Puerto Rico, who will be relocating to Chicago with her husband and four children.

Aponte also has family on the island and was born and raised there. Her mother is living in the town of Ponce, one of the towns hit the hardest by Maria.

Sanchez says she is looking into resources for her sister. She has reached out to Ald. Roberto Maldonado's, who is making plans to use the Humboldt Park Field House as a welcome center for people relocating from the island, and housing assistance.

"These programs will be vital for many families during their transition," said Sanchez.

art show 1
Painting by Janice Aponte of her niece Sarah.
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Photograph that inspired the painting of Janice Aponte's niece, Sarah.

Janice Aponte donated her painting, "Sarah Waiting for Maria."

She was inspired by her niece, Sarah, who was on the island when Maria hit. Before Maria came, Aponte warned her, "you will hear terrifying sounds and the howling of the wind, like you have never heard them before."

To which Sarah replied "No tengo miedo," translating to "I'm not afraid." She texted her a picture (above) that became the painting.

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Painting of Wrigley Field by Miguel Arroyo.

Funds raised will be donated to Voices for Puerto Rico and the Ricky Martin Foundation for Puerto Rico. Some of the funds will also be earmarked and taken to Puerto Rico directly to the hardest hit areas.



On Tuesday, 76 percent of the island did not have power, and 25 percent of the population didn't have water, according to CBS News' David Begnaud.

Arte al Rescate has so far raised $8,000 in sponsorship donations.

The art show will be on Oct. 27 at the Hairpin Arts Center, 2810 N. Milwaukee Ave from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Sanchez says this is just the beginning. "We intend on being in this for long haul. It will take some time and a lot of support to rebuild Puerto Rico."

The organization is already planning another fundraiser for spring 2018.

The online auction is open now. For a list of the art up for auction click here.

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