H’Art & Soul of Haiti Gala [Giveaway]

Published On September 22, 2015 | By Mackenzie Sugrue | Giveaways

Art studio visit to Edner Sufal in Furcy.

Art is universal. That is a fact. From Germany, to Jordan; to Australia, to the United States, and everywhere in between, you can discover multiple art forms. Art lives within the music you listen to, the pictures you see, the buildings you pass everyday, and the people you meet. Even with these vast external exposures, how much do you actually know about the internal inspirations–like the culture, and the places from which it originated?


HTRIP tree plot

Haiti Friends is an organization dedicated to expanding the awareness of Haitian culture, people and their needs through art. A group called the Haiti Timber Re-Introduction Program, or HTRIP, helps to expand upon the organization’s missions of ecological restoration and reforestation.

For much time, Haiti has been struggling economically, educationally and geologically. According to Institut Haïtien de Statistique et D’Informatique, 78 percent of Haitians make less than $1-$2 per day. UNICEF calculated that in 2009, 50% of primary school-aged children do not attend school. Additionally, the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the country in January 2010 affected about three million people, with casualties, injuries and devastating affects on residents’ day-to-day lives.


Absolu Jean Dodet

Due to these travesties, the mission of Haiti Friends weighs heavily on education. In the United States, the group maintains art exhibits and presentations at different institutions around the world to show that Haiti is a joyful and happy place, despite the hardships they’ve overcome.

Haiti Friends galleries house collections of Haitian artwork for sale, which goes towards keeping the organization afloat. Their art is an increasingly successful way to gain access to their culture. In a way, it’s used to connect the things you read about online to actual people in an actual place. Donations to the Haiti Friends organization go to raising awareness of Haitian needs as well as ecological restoration in Haiti, a main goal of HTRIP.


Completed HTRIP tree plot

HTRIP was developed back in 2006, and now celebrates it’s ninth year together, dedicated to rebuilding forestry in the desolated areas of Haiti. By focusing heavily on community ownership, collaborative work and group decision-making, HTRIP brings farming techniques to the mountains to restore the soil, and saves water to help food and plant production.

Eden's Rosier

Eden’s Rosier

This organization is a prototype for restoring plant life in the areas of Haiti, and could potentially even be used as a national model of reforestation. Within nine years, HTRIP has helped plant more than two million trees in the mountains of the Artibonite River Valley in Central Haiti.

The two-millionth tree was planted on June 30 of this year; and on Friday, Sept. 25, Haiti Friends will put on their 15th annual H’Art and Soul of Haiti Gala to celebrate. It is being held at Hotel Monaco in downtown Pittsburgh from 6PM-midnight (Leadership, 6-8PM; H’Art & Soul, 8PM-12AM).

haitifriendsThe gala will showcase pictures taken by Karen Meyers, who brings new eyes to the mountains and the trees of Haiti. It will also feature hors d’oeuvres by the chefs at Commoner Restaurant, live music by Two Tall Twins and the Gene Stovall Band, an open bar, and fall cocktails. Tickets ($100+) are available online.

There are 300 people expected at this year’s event and you could be one of them. We’re giving four readers the opportunity to attend this incredible event–just click to enter our giveaway below for a chance to win a set of two tickets:

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