Plenty of arts to feast on at fundraiser
Whole Foods donates 5 percent of profits to nonprofit after day of free performances
Naomi Brookner/The Gazette
For one day, dinosaurs and other distinguished performers took over Whole Foods in Silver Spring as part of a fundraiser to support a Silver Spring-based arts nonprofit.
For the event, the Silver Spring act DinoRock produced a puppet show for children age 2 and older about baby dinosaurs and motherhood.
"MommaSaur, MommaSaur, she's a good mother and there is no other, mommma-mama, mommasaur," sang DinoRock artist Michele Valeri.
"I thought it was more fun than a barrel of monkeys," Valeri said. "We live for a barrel of children's giggles. We love it when they're singing and laughing and happy."
The variety of performances held throughout the day Jan. 14 was hosted by Class Acts Arts, a community organization that brings arts to disadvantaged groups. Whole Foods donated 5 percent of the grocery sales that day to the organization, which has big plans for community arts.
"We bring 2,500 arts programs a year to different schools and community groups," said Elissa Leif, director of development for Class Acts Arts. "It's really important to have arts education in the schools. Kids learn so much through community [arts] education in the schools."
The acts, which included storytelling, puppetry, folk music, mime and many guitar solos, were performed near the cashier aisle of the store. Space was limited in the store and the performance lobby was crowded with mats, strollers and cheering children.
Joan Burns, executive director of Class Acts Arts, said she is glad to have Whole Foods' charitable contribution for the arts. "First of all, we're incredibly grateful to Whole Foods market for enjoying and entertaining us," she said. "We're thrilled. It's great to have community support from a community business."
From the beginning of the day, turnout looked good, Burns said
"I'm buying a lot," she said, holding her shopping cart during the event.
Pat Defenbaugh and her husband, Bob, visiting from Georgia, brought their 1-year old granddaughter, Ella Meier of Silver Spring, to the event.
"We're very happy with the performances. It's very good for the children and good to be around entertainers," she said.
The Defenbaughs said they spent about $70 and were happy to benefit a community organization.
Heather Foley, the marketing specialist and community liaison of Whole Foods, said the company donates 5 percent of one day's proceeds in grocery sales to a community organization.
"The arts are something very important to us and this is an excellent organization" she said.
Foley said an organization can expect between $4,000 and $5,000 from such a fundraiser that provides a fun event for children and vital funds for Class Acts Arts.
"I think [this benefit drive] is necessary with all the funding cuts to keep all the funding alive," Valeri said, whose DinoRock has been a community act for 25 years. "Supermarkets [like this one] keep children's bodies alive, but the arts feed their souls."