When it comes to health and wellness, few things are as stressful as a serious medical diagnosis.
Whether it’s cancer, heart problems, a broken hip or a stroke, it takes a lot of support from family and friends to move on from the other. side of a medical battle.
Although many medical insurance companies pay the majority of costs associated with medical treatments, we all know that they do not cover everything and there is a good chance that you will have to shell out money out of your own pocket.
These costs can weigh on anyone, especially those pursuing a career in the art world.
Unlike most people, artists such as painters, sculptors, and illustrators typically don’t have health insurance. Unless covered by partner’s or spouse’s insurance plan, performers keep track of all charges associated with medical expenses.
The Artists’ Charitable Fund, which is holding its biggest fundraiser of the year next weekend, is helping artists ease the financial stress caused by medical bills. Sculptors from the Loveland area, including internationally renowned figurative sculptor George Lundeen, founded the fund more than 20 years ago.
“The fund was created after seeing many of their artist friends get cancer and other illnesses and not have the ability to pay for it all,” said Judy Archibald, fund coordinator. “So they created this non-profit organization, and it helps professional artists.”
The fund helps artists in the western United States, including Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming, with some of the costs associated with medical, dental, or vision bills. Artists must have been living from their work for at least five years to be eligible for assistance.
Applicants are vetted and must produce copies of their tax returns, Archibald explained. Once approved for assistance, the fund directly pays medical providers and bills — they don’t pay artists.
In the past, money from the fund has helped buy a wheelchair, pay for eye surgery, fund an artificial leg, and cover costs associated with cancer treatments for a variety of artists.
Artists Stephen and Diane Fairfield, a married couple from Arizona, have first-hand experience working with the Artists’ Charitable Fund after Diane’s heart problems began to worsen, requiring her to undergo heart surgery open.
Knowing that Medicare wouldn’t cover all the costs of surgery and care, Diane started looking for ways to close that financial gap and came across the fund’s website.
“She was the one who initially submitted all the required documents and records, and Diane was told by Judy that she would be awarding up to $8,000 in direct payment to the doctors and the hospital for our share of the surgery costs. with an open heart”, says Stéphane. “You can imagine how astronomical the fees are for this.”
Sadly, Diane died during the operation, which broke Stephen’s heart and left him wondering where he stood with the financial support from the fund.
“When you have a financial crisis, everyone suffers. I am the one who is responsible for covering all the costs,” he said. “Judy said no, the policy of the fund is that they have granted this money to Diane, but I would be an eligible beneficiary to submit the invoices.”
As the bills came in, Stephen submitted them to the fund to be paid, which relieved a lot of stress and gave him more room to mourn the loss of his wife.
“It was just a wonderful windfall for me, to get me off the specter of these huge debts,” Stephen said. “I would be in dire straits without the fund. I would have been sued by collection agencies because the doctors and the hospital want their money.
” They do not care. They would probably say, ‘You’re an artist, get a real job.’ There is a perception that art is not really work.
To date, the fund has paid out over $500,000 for medical expenses to artists in crisis. In 2021, the fund has paid out $37,857 in medical, dental and vision aid, and for this year it has paid out $39,582 so far.
“It’s really jumped this year,” Archibald said.
The annual art auction is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year.
The 2021 auction brought in around $40,000. Archibald and the fund’s board hope to exceed that amount this year.
Pieces featured in the auction are donated by artists from across the country and may include sculptures, paintings, and other works of visual art.
Some of the pieces that will be featured in this year’s auction include “Running Wild,” an 11-inch by 14-inch oil painting by Lani Vlaanderen; “Make A Stink”, a 9.75 inch tall sculpture by Joshua Tobey; and “At the Water’s Edge,” a 12-inch by 9-inch oil painting by Tamara Simmons.
“We will end up with around 70 original paintings and sculptures for the auction,” Archibald said. “I never know what I’m going to have until that day. Some artists bring their donated pieces an hour before the auction.
In addition to the live auction, attendees can participate in a silent auction that features a variety of different pieces like limited edition prints, blown glass innards, ceramics and smaller sculptures.
The event will begin with an art preview and refreshments at 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 13 at the North Lake Park Amphitheater, located at Taft Avenue and 29th Street in Loveland. The auction will start at 7 p.m.
“We sell everything. I won’t bring it home,” Archibald said with a laugh. “People can do great business with known artists.”
Winning bidders can pay cash, check or credit card directly after the auction.
“The fund allowed me to continue, relieving not only the financial side but also the psychological pressure,” said Stephen Fairfield. “I’m so grateful to the fund for just being there. It is one of the few funds that helps you through life; I know they help a lot of people.
For more information, visit www.artistscharitablefund.org.