When it comes to health and wellness, not many things are as stressful as a serious medical diagnosis.
Whether it’s cancer, heart problems, a broken hip, or a stroke, it can take a lot of support from family and friends to get to the other side of a medical battle.
While many medical insurance companies can pay for most of the costs associated with medical care, we all know they don’t cover everything and there’s a good chance you’ll have to shell out some cash out of your own pocket.
These costs can put a strain on anyone, especially those making a career in the art world.
Unlike most people, artists such as painters, sculptors, and illustrators generally don’t have health insurance. Unless covered by a partner’s or spouse’s insurance plan, performers remain responsible for all costs associated with medical expenses.
The artists’ charity fund, which will host its biggest fundraiser of the year this coming weekend, helps artists ease the financial stress caused by medical bills. Sculptors from the Loveland area, including the internationally acclaimed 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 diseases and not be able to pay for everything,” said Judy Archibald, coordinator of the fund. “So they started this non-profit organization and assists 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 eye care bills. Artists must have been earning a living with their artwork for at least five years to be eligible for assistance.
Candidates are vetted and must produce copies of their tax returns, Archibald explained. Once approved for care, the fund pays health care providers and bills directly – they don’t pay artists.
In the past, the fund’s money has contributed to the purchase of a wheelchair, paid for eye surgery, provided funding for an artificial leg, and helped with 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 Artist Charitable Fund after Diane’s heart condition began to deteriorate, forcing her to undergo open heart surgery.
Knowing that Medicare would not cover all costs for the surgery and treatment, Diane began looking for ways to close that financial gap and stumbled upon the fund’s website.
“She was the one who initially submitted all necessary documentation and records, and Diane was informed by Judy that they would grant up to $ 8,000 in direct payment to the doctors and the hospital for our share of the open heart surgery costs.” Stefano said. “You can imagine how astronomical the rates are for this.”
Sadly, Diane died during the surgery, which left Stephen heartbroken and worried about his position with financial support from the fund.
“When you have a financial crisis, everyone suffers. I am solely responsible for covering the back end of all charges, “he said.” Judy said no, the fund’s policy is that they gave that money to Diane, but I would be an eligible recipient to file the bills. ” .
When the bills came, Stephen submitted them to the fund to get paid, which greatly relieved the stress and allowed him more room to mourn the loss of his wife.
“It has been a wonderful godsend for me to get myself out of the specter of these huge debts,” said Stephen. “I would be in desperate condition without the fund. I would have been chased by the collection agencies because the doctors and the hospital want their money.
“It does not matter. They would probably say: “You’re an artist, get a real job”. There is the perception that art is not really a job “.
To date, the fund has paid more than $ 500,000 in medical bills for artists in crisis. In 2021, the fund paid $ 37,857 in medical, dental, and eye aid, and for this year, it has paid $ 39,582 so far.
“It has really jumped ahead this year,” Archibald said.
The annual art auction is the organization’s most important fundraiser of the year.
The 2021 auction fetched around $ 40,000. Archibald and the fund’s board of directors hope to exceed that amount this year.
The pieces featured in the auction are donated by artists from around the country and may include sculptures, paintings and other pieces of visual art.
Some of the pieces that will be presented at 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 Water’s Edge,” a 12-inch by 9-inch oil painting by Tamara Simmons.
“We will end up with about 70 original paintings and sculptures for the auction,” Archibald said. “I never know what I’ll 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 such as limited edition prints, blown glass guts, pottery and smaller sculptures.
The event will kick off with an art preview and refreshments at 6pm on Saturday 13th August at the North Lake Park Amphitheater, located between Taft Avenue and 29th Street in Loveland. The auction will start at 7pm
“We sell everything. I won’t take him home anymore, ”Archibald said, laughing. “People can get great deals from famous artists.”
Winning bidders can pay by cash, check or credit card directly after the auction.
“The fund has allowed me to move forward, not only alleviating the financial side but also the psychological pressure,” said Stephen Fairfield. “I am so grateful to the fund for being there. This is one of the rare funds that helps you get through life; I know they help a lot of people. “
For more information, visit www.artistscharitablefund.org.