So I woke up early on Sunday with an idea. What if I were to paint ten little pictures and auction them off on Instagram for charity? Normally at moments like this I either hunt optimistically for obstacles to scupper the idea or think “that would be nice” and fall back to sleep. But not on Sunday. I painted twelve pictures over the course of the day, only rejecting two. I then posted them on Instagram, with a $50 minimum, giving twenty-four hours for people to direct mail me a bid, with the understanding that if they were to be successful, they would donate that amount to New York Coalition for the Homeless
I then sat neurotically for a couple of hours wondering whether anyone would take the bait. But they did and together we raised $1360!
Let me say upfront that this is not normal behavior for me. I am possessive about my pictures and usually very passive about the welfare of strangers. So this does not deserve a round of applause. Yet, this awful moment that we are all experiencing, this disconcerting recalibration of values, made me value the importance of shelter more than ever before – as a refuge from the storm, somewhere to retreat to and feel safe. So something small but good came out of that. And everyone made their donations and, perhaps even more amazingly, dutifully sent the receipts as proof!