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Haitian American Art Expo at Riverspace

“It is a way to show the world, to show the people, that we have some good art, we have a very rich culture and that we have … good things,” says Joseph Desmaret, who has organized a July 5 show of more than 40 artists from Haiti.

Joseph Desmaret got the idea for creating the Haitian-American Arts Expo after he attended an art expo in Haiti in December 2007. He hopes that the event will change people’s perceptions of the Caribbean nation that is beset by political instability and poverty. “I think it is every Haitian’s responsibility to market Haiti, to help Haiti, to participate in this type of event in order to present a good image about our country,” says the former Spring Valley trustee who now serves on the Spring Valley Planning Board.

The expo and related events will be June 27 through July 6. Exhibit locations will include the fieldhouse at Rockland Community College in Ramapo June 28, 2009 and the parking lot of the International Food Mart on Route 59 in Spring Valley and Riverspace Arts Center parking lot on July 5th 2009.

Six Rockland artists also will participate in the event, as will Haitian businessmen seeking to network with the Rockland business community for possible outsourcing opportunities in areas including customer service or data entry.

A jury selected the participating artists from among 200 who exhibited their work, he said. The artists contributed their airfare, and lodging, the rest was paid by Haitian business sponsors. Funds for other basic expenses also will be sought through Desmaret’s nonprofit, the Haitian American Diaspora Foundation.

The proceeds of art sales will go directly to the artists, Desmaret said. Any dollars that are not exhausted will be earmarked for the purchase of basic school supplies for the needy in Haiti, he added. The event is free and open to the public.

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The event is co-sponsored by the villages of Spring Valley and Nyack, the towns of Ramapo and Orangetown, and county Legislator William L. Darden.

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