Short on money, Ball State alumnae give time to organizing New York City benefit for Haiti relief

Topics: Alumni, College of Fine Arts

February 26, 2010

 If she could have, Ball State University alumna Terra Mackintosh would have given money to the people of Haiti in the wake of January's devastating earthquake there.

As a struggling artist in New York City short on funds, Mackintosh simply couldn't. So instead she gave her heart — and countless hours of her time — to help spearhead Light for Haiti, a benefit in the Big Apple featuring a host of New York-based artists, actors, singers and comedians.

The fundraising event is scheduled for 8 p.m. Feb. 28 with all proceeds raised to benefit Haiti relief. The lineup of artists for the event ranges from up-and-coming talent to veteran actors David Alan Grier ("In Living Color") and Richard Thomas ("The Waltons"), both of whom will host the event. Tickets for the event cost $50 individually and can be purchased online.
 
"When we first started, none of us ever thought we'd get the response that we have," Mackintosh said. "I think, for a lot of artists, we all were in this same boat of thinking we had nothing to give when we realized, 'Wait a minute, … we could give our art to this benefit.'"

Mackintosh is overseeing performance and theatrical coordination of the event. Her friend and fellow Ball State alumna Marciel Greene is coordinating the technical and design aspects. Mackintosh was asked to participate in Light for Haiti by her Haitian-born friend, Jean Pierre, a popular New York City-based DJ who goes by Q or DJ Q.

"Q got it all started with a text message to his friends about putting on a benefit for Haiti, and I was immediately in," Mackintosh said. "From there, I asked Marcie to help, and everything snowballed into what the event has become. We've had an overwhelmingly positive response."

The goal of everyone involved with Light for Haiti is to make the event as successful as possible so as to provide a sizable donation to GHESKIO (Groupe Haitien d'Etude du Darcome de Kaposi et des Infections Opportunistes), a medical clinic based in Port-au-Prince. Mackintosh, Greene and Pierre also would like to visit Haiti later this spring, to help with relief efforts and to deliver "Gifts of Light," postcards on which messages of hope and inspiration will be written by guests at the Light for Haiti event.

Michael O'Hara, associate dean of Ball State's College of Fine Arts, said he's proud of the work both Mackintosh and Greene have invested in the project.

"Both of these young women have a long pedigree of social activism and awareness, and I know they will gain an incredible sense of accomplishment from their efforts on this event," he said. "They will be going to Haiti themselves to carry their message of hope and compassion, and I am very proud of them. It's an honor to support their efforts."

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