USC Aiken reaches out to help Haiti victims

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AIKEN --- Miranda Hein had low expectations last week when she began soliciting donations at the University of South Carolina Aiken for disaster relief in Haiti.

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Beyer  Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Beyer

She soon learned students will dig deep into their pockets for a good cause. The USC Aiken junior helped raise more than $900 and donated it all to Aiken's American Red Cross.

"I just had to think, 'What would it be like for me with my two kids, my husband and my home? What if that was all gone through no fault of my own?' " she said. "It was great to see that even though students are notoriously broke, they were reaching in their pockets for change."

Hein and art professor Al Beyer have reached out to faculty, staff and students at the university to aid the thousands of people affected by last week's earthquake.

Beyer has been selling his artwork at the Etherredge Center since Monday. The proceeds from the sale, which ends today, will go to Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization.

He worked on the dozens of figure drawings during the past three years, he said.

"I have sold a few over the last couple of days," he said. "People have been very generous by paying more than the price on the drawings. I think when there's a disaster like this people really want to help."

The unframed drawings sell for between $15 and $70, Beyer said.

Seth Fields, a USC Aiken graduate who studied studio art under Beyer, said his former teacher's pieces likely will be worth hundreds framed.

"He has a very good reputation nationally," Fields said Wednesday while reviewing the works on display. "I think it's great that with his experience and his talent, he's willing to donate his work."

A relative newcomer to Aiken County, Hein said she is impressed by the generosity of the people she met during the past week.

"I've lived all over the world, and Aiken has a unique quality in that people are willing to help," she said. "There were people who had not even heard about Haiti yet, and they helped. That says a lot."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

ART SALE

Al Beyer's drawings are on sale today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the George and Jean Kierspe Gallery at the Etherredge Center, 471 University Pkwy., Aiken. For more information, contact Beyer at (803) 641-3307.


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