By Karen Dilks
(April 18, 2013)
I am so excited the internationally acclaimed Umbrella Project is returning to Sedona, April 26 to April 28. I fell in love with the project the minute I met Hilda Brown, founder of the non-profit organization. Immediately I recognized that she was a great leader and inspiration to our children of this world. Zest. Enthusiasm. Kindness. Positive. Peaceful. We met, just days after 9/11.
Once agreed to host exhibition, Hilda was off to New York City and returned with 200 of the most awe-inspiring umbrellas I had ever seen. The venue was like a gigantic canvas…. with the ART simply saying “WOW!” Though devastated by disaster these children with tiny hands and big hearts created masterpieces on big, white, blank oversized umbrellas. Blew my socks off to see such beautiful work. Patriotism. Pride. Hope. Dream. Togetherness. Powerful.
Children learn by creating and donating their umbrellas that they can really make a difference to their community. One hundred percent of sales are returned to their neighborhoods in restoration and rebuild. Children helping children with the support of a hundred percent volunteer organization.
Since 9/11, the project has followed me to Hillside Sedona. Hilda, I and hundreds of children, teachers, parents and volunteers have collaborated over the years to bring disaster relief funds to Thailand after the Tsunami, Haiti after the Hurricane, Katrina, Gulf Oil Spill to name but a few. Special events such as Raining and Cats and Dogs for Sedona Humane Society or I HAVE A DREAM are also incorporated into the program.
Please take the time to view this video on You Tube –– http://youtu.be/ttGVWe99Rj0. It is the last event held at Hillside. It was a fundraiser for the Wildlife Federation to rehabilitate the animals hurt from the oil spill. We did the video in conjunction with Make A Difference Day in hope for a grant but it shows you the dynamics of what a great project this is.
I hope you all can stop by and support the project. Over 200 incredible umbrellas will be lining the rails at Hillside. This year’s proceeds will go to Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Relief Fund (repairing the damage in New York’s boroughs from Hurricane Sandy). Hilda was raised a Manhattan girl though she shares home in the Southwest too. This year she is giving back to her old neighborhoods. Life circle and cycles…love it.
Live music and beer/wine gardens will accompany the exhibit all weekend. Saturday will also host barbecue, informal fashion show and Bingo bash…all further fundraising for the project. Parking is always a problem in the 179 Red Rock Parkway, so carpool with friends and neighbors, walk, and ride bikes to help out. Be patient with drive by…slow down and enjoy.
The point of this letter is to express my appreciation for my dear friend Hilda Brown and her truly gifted humanitarian nature. It is contagious with its pureness of inspiration and conviction. Thank you again, Hilda Brown for allowing my venue to be your canvas.
Karen Reynolds Dilks, Manager Hillside Sedona
671 SR 179 E-ST 5
Sedona, AZ 86336