Creating for the Community

Art 4 Shelter Celebrates 10th Year

When Apple Valley resident and painter Shaina McCoy was a senior in high school, she discovered what would become one of her greatest passions — creating and donating art for an important cause.

In 2012, she was in her last year at arts high school Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley when she was encouraged to submit some of her paintings to Art 4 Shelter, an annual art sale with all proceeds going to Simpson Housing Services in Minneapolis, a non-profit organization that houses, supports, and advocates for people experiencing homelessness.

So McCoy donated 33 paintings that year.

“I wanted to be able to donate as much as $1,000,” she said. “I went overboard and did the work.”

This year’s Art 4 Shelter will take place on Wednesday, May 13, at music and arts venue The Fillmore in Minneapolis. This year is an extra-special event because it marks the 10th anniversary of the fundraiser.

Many pieces of art cost just $35 — the cost for one night of shelter for someone who is going through homelessness. Some $90 pieces of artwork are available for purchase as well, giving buyers and artists a chance to make an even bigger impact with those pieces, which are larger than the $35 ones. The $35 works are 5″ × 7″ in size and the $90 works are 8″ × 10″ in size.

Since the event began in 2011, Art 4 Shelter has brought in a total of $723,000. That means all involved in the event have been able to provide 20,657 nights of shelter and housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Additionally, the event gives emerging and established artists a place to showcase their work, creating a win for everyone in the community.

For McCoy, she has also gotten additional professional experience over the years now that she sits on the Art 4 Shelter board of directors.

“I love that I can give back to my community,” McCoy said. “It makes me feel really good to help people.”

Board member Audra Williams has a background in both art and law. She sees Art 4 Shelter filling a unique niche in the Twin Cities area.

“The intersection of a basic needs non-profit and bringing accessible art to an audience (and vice versa) really speaks to me. It’s kind of all my favorite things in one event,” she said. “It’s a fun and free event in the evening. You don’t see a lot of fundraisers that are so accessible.”

She said she’s also personally benefited from buying some beautiful pieces from both local and national artists.

“I’ve really expanded my art collection by adding some amazing pieces that I scored for just $35,” she said. “You can’t argue with that.”

Williams says the event also supports sponsors, who benefit from the fundraiser as well, making Art 4 Shelter a venture that benefits everyone that comes into contact with the evening.

“It gives our sponsors some well-deserved recognition,” she said. “They get to support a really cool and well-attended event that serves those experiencing homelessness and our community overall.”

Art 4 Shelter takes place May 13 at The Fillmore, 525 N 5th St, Minneapolis. Are you an artist interested in submitting artwork for the show? Go to

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