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Some Art Walk businesses collecting food in shutdown response

An institution of downtown Washington, Art Walk consistently draws crowds for a stroll through galleries. Treated to new work, receptions, special deals and more, this Friday, gallery-goers are asked to give a little in return.

“Art for a Cause” is the theme for several galleries and businesses that have signed on to collect non-perishable food items for those that could find themselves without food during the partial federal shutdown, a stalemate between President Donald Trump and legislators who don’t want to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. As the shutdown has continued into a second month, more services are being affected, including those that impact many Beaufort County residents.

According to Beaufort County Department of Social Services Director Melanie Corprew, there are 4,500 cases receiving Food and Nutrition Services benefits in the county, which translates to approximately 9,000 people. USDA, the source of those benefits, released February’s benefits on Jan. 20 — until the shutdown ends, there will be no more.

That’s why several downtown businesses are stepping in to collect food during Friday’s Art Walk. Contemporary Art Exchange, A Southern Nest, Century 21 The REALTY Group, The Secret Garden and Ruth’s House Antiques and More will all have boxes out to collect donations during Art Walk, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

“This whole thing is going to start affecting a whole lot of people,” said Contemporary Art Exchange owner Tina Jandrow.

Jandrow encouraged all Art Walk-ers to bring what they could — all items will be donated to local food pantry Eagle’s Wings.

“As you know, we’re in the middle of the government shutdown, and January is typically a low time for donations and a high time of need. (The lack of) food stamps are going to affect a lot of Beaufort County families,” Jandrow said.

Jandrow said many businesses, in addition to the Art Walk galleries, will remain open after hours for the event. New members’ work will be displayed at the artist co-op River Walk Gallery and Arts Center, and Contemporary Art Exchange new artist Sally Sutton will be on hand at The Bank Bistro, where more of her work is on display, to greet visitors. While the entire exhibit will be unveiled at the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival next month, a sneak peek of entries in CAE’s national show, “Menagerie,” will be on display at the Turnage Theatre on Friday, and famed watercolorist Jeffrey Jakub returns to do on-the-spot character sketches at CAE, by appointment.

Contact Contemporary Art Exchange at 252-721-1753 for more information.