Art, water and the needs of a developing Caribbean country come together this weekend during the launch of a new gallery in North Tampa.
Tada! Gallery (Traditional and Digital Arts) opens Saturday along N Dale Mabry Highway in Carrollwood.
To mark its debut, owners Meaghan Farrell and her husband, Shawn Scalise, have partnered with the University of South Florida's Engineers Without Borders to host the Caribbean Consciousness Charity Art Show.
The show will feature water-related works from about 15 artists. Proceeds will go to the engineering group's project, Water for Miches (pronounced MEE-chez), which will bring drinking water to a neighborhood along the Dominican Republic's north coast.
The community of 500 people, called Miramar, has no drinking water supply or sanitation. To get water, residents must walk down a steep hill to the main town of Miches and fill buckets with polluted runoff from a leaky water tower.
Several members of Engineers Without Borders visited the island nation in April and July to design the project and collaborate with local officials. The nonprofit group helps developing countries with quality-of-life engineering projects.
"It's really sad,'' said Jamie Trahan, a recent USF graduate who founded the campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders. "The children are walking around without shoes or with shoes that are torn. The homes are like tin shanties and you might have two families sharing one room.''
The group plans to drill a well in Miramar so residents won't have to leave the community to get water for drinking, washing and cooking. Because the area's electricity is so unreliable, it also will build a 20,000-gallon storage tank to ensure water even when the power goes out.
The group, which is working with the Patel Center for Global Solutions at USF and Columbia University's Center for Environment, Economy and Society, must raise about $20,000 to complete the project. The mayor of Miches has agreed to donate some supplies, but the group still needs rebar, piping and wire. Engineers Without Borders has organized a few fundraisers, including a garage sale, but hopes the art show will boost their totals.
Art with a cause
The Caribbean Consciousness Charity Art Show runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Tada! Gallery (Traditional and Digital Arts), 11730 N Dale Mabry Highway in the Main Street Plaza. A $5 donation is suggested. Exhibit runs through Nov. 23. (813) 932-6500. traditional- anddigitalarts.com