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Sonoma County Gazette
Vineyard Worker

Conscious Art Collecting for Fire Relief

Dec 29, 2017


By Christina Stafford

On the Thursday before Columbus Day Weekend, Craig Nelson traveled to Charleston, South Carolina for a show at the Ella Walton Richardson Gallery. Craig arrived home at 11:30 pm on that fateful Sunday night.  Two hours later, Craig and Anna, his wife and fellow artist, were fleeing from their home in Fountaingrove.

Monday night found me glued to the constant news coverage of the fires. I was dearly hoping that the two lifetimes’ worth of painting work amassed in the Nelson home might somehow be spared.

Unexpectedly, Craig appeared on the television.  He had driven into his neighborhood on the fire roads and was beating flames out around his driveway with a towel.  The camera crew present followed him around to the back of the house, where Craig used pool water to put out fires starting up on his fence. The firefighters made a valiant stand at the top of his street and were able to save Craig’s house, the home above it and the three below it.

The next few days were hectic, as we all waited to see which way the wind might blow next.  At Craig’s encouragement, we decided to proceed with the planned reception for his show at Stafford Gallery entitled“Visions d’Vine: Portraits of Harvest”.

Stafford Gallery Live EventChris Mengler, of Mengler Wines, came by to support the effort and the reception was attended by friends, family and several of Craig’s students from years Past.  We all marveled as Craig planned and completed a demonstration painting in three hours, working from a photograph.

”Visions d’Vine: Portraits of Harvest”, has consequently become a benefit for the communities, like Fountaingrove, impacted by the wildfires. 10% of all proceeds will be directly donated for recovery assistance.

The demonstration painting is now a silent auction item with 100% of proceeds going directly to the community.  Measuring 18x24 inches and Valued at $3,850, the bidding starts at $500. The auction will run until December 31st. These funds will go a long way to further assist our friends and neighbors. 

Round Barn at Fountain GroveCraig is coordinating a group show with several highly acclaimed Bay Area painters at the start of the New Year, which will be a 100% fundraising benefit for ongoing Fire recovery efforts. Details are being worked out currently.

As we are all starting to comprehend, this recovery is going to be a marathon effort. Some of the homes that stand continue to be uninhabitable until further notice, let alone those homes, and lives, that must be completely reconstructed.

Craig Nelson’s personal and professional efforts are helping to directly support friends and neighbors much less fortunate.  By collecting Craig Nelson’s paintings, people may simultaneously embrace what they love about Sonoma County, begin to restore a sense of normalcy and directly help wildfire victims rebuild their lives.

Thank you for your thoughtful generosity.



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