LYNN — Alison Miller knows firsthand that alumni will always have a home at Raw Art Works.
Miller has been involved with RAW for almost two decades, after becoming a member at 14 years old. Now, at 33, she is a full-time RAW art therapist and one of a dozen alumni taking part in the Door 2 Door showcase, which will feature and auction art pieces created by the artists during the annual BASH fundraiser this Saturday.
“Door 2 Door helps those who graduated from art school continue to create,” Miller said. “It also allows alumni to continue to stay connected to RAW and gives them the opportunity to give back.”
The money from the auctioned pieces will go toward funding RAW’s various programs and bringing in more students off the waitlist. Alumni artists will also get a portion from their sold pieces, Miller said.
Every Sunday, for the last six months, the 12 artists have met up at RAW to work on their own pieces and critique each other’s. Miller said the Door 2 Door showcase is a great way for newly-professional artists to learn communication and the importance of taking in critique from their peers.
“We all really want our hearts to be behind these pieces,” said Miller. “Not just having them be pretty pictures.”
What is the meaning behind “Door 2 Door?” According to Miller, RAW’S founder, Mary Flannery, had an idea more than 15 years ago to create and paint over wooden doors and drop them off at the homes of potential donors.
Miller said the idea was adored by some donors and not well-liked by others. Over the years, the BASH fundraiser has grown and morphed into a bigger event, but the name of the alumni art showcase stayed the same.
Since becoming a RAW alumna, and full-time employee, Miller has participated in the showcase annually. This year, she created three pieces for the event, one of them has a dual focus on the reciprocity of friendship and the importance of self-care. It is an illustration of one figure that, when you look closely, resembles two figures.
“If you can learn to care for someone else, you can learn to care for yourself,” Miller said.
Miller said RAW is big on having its alumni “stay connected to the family.” With Door 2 Door, RAW acknowledges the people who graduated from the program and invites them, after they have gotten their “education or job on,” to bring their newfound wisdom to the young members who could one day be in their shoes, she said.
Every year at BASH, Miller said the featured alumni feed off the energy and excitement in the room. She said she is looking forward to this year.
“Door 2 Door is so much more than just an art group,” Miller said. “They’re my art family.”