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Thu, Dec. 05

Local artists contribute to programs in Africa
Art raises money for ‘3 Peaks in 3 Weeks Challenge’ to help women

PV Art Guild member Maria Lynam donated several pieces of her artwork at a silent auction this past weekend for the 3 Peaks 3 Weeks Challenge that benefits three programs in Kenya and Tanzania.
Trib Photo/Sue Tone

PV Art Guild member Maria Lynam donated several pieces of her artwork at a silent auction this past weekend for the 3 Peaks 3 Weeks Challenge that benefits three programs in Kenya and Tanzania. Trib Photo/Sue Tone

Four local artists with the Prescott Valley Art Guild donated several pieces of artwork this past weekend to benefit three organizations in Africa through an event called 3 Peaks 3 Weeks Challenge.

Leah Hickman, formerly of Prescott now living in Colorado, will join a small group of women who will scale three of the highest mountain peaks in Africa in one three-week time span.

The women pay their own way, but conduct fundraisers to benefit three organizations dealing with the major issues facing people in Africa: environment, health and education.

The Laikipia Wildlife Forum in Kenya deals with conservation and management of wildlife in non-protected areas. It also focuses on deforestation, land degradation and maintenance of ecosystem integrity.

SIC Tanzania works to limit the impact of HIV/AIDS in northern Tanzania, and provides learning opportunities for international health care workers through high-quality, cost-effective care.

The School of St. Jude, also in Tanzania, began in 2002 with three students and now provides an education for more than 500 orphans and disadvantaged children.

Hickman said the silent art auction at the Prescott Community Center this past Friday brought in nearly $5,000. All of the money goes directly to supporting the three programs. To date she has raised about $10,600 toward the cause.

The climbing team consists of 12 women - eight from the United States and the rest from Australia. The selection process involves a lengthy application with an essay test that asks the women to tell what inspired them to apply and why they are inclined to support the three organizations.

"Some women just want to climb. Theydon't get accepted," Hickman said. "The whole part of 3 Peaks 3 Weeks is these three causes."

In January, the 2009 team will first tackle Mt. Kenya (17,058 ft.), Mt. Meru, (14,980 ft.) and Mt. Kilimanjaro, the "Roof of Africa" (19,340 ft.).

Hickman said the women's ages range from 21 to 43. One participant lives in New York and has never been camping, much less hiked mountains. Hickman is getting in shape by climbing several 13,000-foot peaks in Colorado.

Prescott Valley resident and artist Nadia Clark said she recently decided to do more for developing countries, and when she received an email asking for a donation and explaining the cause, she felt honored to help out.

"I think we, as artists, have resources with our minds as far as creating things and trying to find solutions. It's just a shame there is so much disparity between our country and the rest of the world," Clark said.

Maria Lynam said Hickman's mother is a friend and she volunteered to help with the event. She said about 60 artists in all donated their work, and she was pleased with how the evening went. All but three pieces of art left with new owners.

"It just goes to show what a community can do," Lynam said.

The audience watched a 52-minute documentary tracking the 2007 team of 10 women who visited each organization and met the beneficiaries of the Challenge in between climbing each of the three mountains.

"It was so moving. I saw what it meant personally to the climbers and also to the organizations that received the money," Lynam said.

Alicia and Carl Bauer, both Prescott Valley artists, also contributed artwork.

To learn more about the Challenge, visit www.3peaks3weeks.org. To contact Leah Hickman, send an e-mail to leah_c_hickman@hotmail.com.

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