Cotati fundraising focuses on supporting the arts

Cannabis dispensary Mercy Wellness teamed up with local artists on Saturday to host a fundraiser in Cotati to benefit the nonprofit Santa Rosa Arts Center.

The outdoor event took place in front of the company’s Redwood Drive store.

In keeping with Sonoma County’s temporary ban on large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, crowds were limited in size. Social distancing and masks were necessary and all transactions were cashless, according to Chris Myers, chief marketing officer of Mercy Wellness.

The event featured a silent auction as well as a variety of arts and crafts for sale, including paintings and jewelry. According to Myers, the performers in attendance had previously worked with Mercy Wellness on giveaways for its customer loyalty program or had been introduced to the company through word of mouth.

Artists included painter and muralist Arsenio Baca, graphic designer Vinnie Schraner and Sebastopol gallery owner Lori Austin.

“We thought that [fundraiser] was a great opportunity to bring their art into the community and give them a little more attention,” Myers said.

Each artist donated a piece to the auction, with proceeds going to the South A Street Arts Centre. The dispensary plans to match all funds raised, according to Myers.

Presented centrally by the Lori Austin Gallery, Mercy Wellness has been impressed with its focus on expanding arts programs throughout the county, including with minorities and the LGBTQ community. It’s “just the right kind” of organization the company wants to support, according to Myers.

The center was founded in 2014 and promotes the arts in Santa Rosa through art classes for all ages, exhibits, and live performances.

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