OXFORD — Artists from Oxford, Easton and St. Michaels volunteered their time, talents and creativity to produce colorful painted scenes on each four-picket section of the iconic Oxford fence representing Eastern Shore life.
These works of art will be auctioned, with all proceeds going to local charities and nonprofits. The fences are on display throughout the town of Oxford for the entire summer. This project is meant to invite everyone to explore Oxford and its unique shops and restaurants while allowing the Oxford Business Association to give back.
This year participating artists and the organizations that will receive the proceeds of their fences sale are Sally Fronk, CASA of the Mid-Shore; Louisa Zendt, Chesapeake Multi-Cultural Center; Kevin Garber, For All Seasons Behavioral Health and Rape Crisis Center; Kate Huntington, John Wesley Preservation Society; Cid Collins-Walker, Oxford Community Center; Marie Davis, Oxford Garden Club; Louisa Zendt, Oxford Museum; Maggii Sarfaty, ShoreRivers; Mark Montoya, Talbot Humane Society; and Lisa Wendig, Tred Avon Jr. Sailing.
Liza Ledford, executive director of the Oxford Community Center, said, “At the end of the run, they do a live auction. It will be outside on our driveway toward the patio. It will be socially distanced with 40 people at a time.”
“The average picket fence goes for about $350. There are 10 different charities and 100% of the proceeds will go to charity this year,” she said.
The Oxford Business Association is run by Phyllis Rambo, administrator. The organization produces Oxford Picket Fences each year as a means to bring people to Oxford to walk around and enjoy the town — as well as raise money for wonderful charities too. They have maps to guide a walking tour of the fences.”
“It is a charity first,” Rambo said. “We wanted local organizations. We started with 15 artists, and then the pandemic hit. Now we are down to 10. We decided to go virtual, but OBA didn’t have the online expertise, so we partnered with the (Oxford) Community Center.”
“Now we can do online bidding and proxy bidding, where someone can be there to bid for you if you can’t make it,” she said.
“This is the 11th year — we say ‘back by popular demand.’ They had a big 10th year finale last year, but the artists wanted to use the platform, and the causes liked the publicity,” Ledford said.
Maggii Sarfaty created mostly for the cause ShoreRivers.
“They come and test all the water where we swim to make sure it is safe,” Sarfaty said. “Not just from human pollution but also from natural red tides. I am thrilled to be raising money for ShoreRivers.”
Participating artist Cid Collins-Walker said, “This is the fourth year in succession that I have been asked to do a fence. My work is about content and color. Art is a conversation. I work to involve.”
When asked which comes first, the cause or the piece, she said, “Both cause and piece. Oxford Community Center is the epicenter of Oxford. Liza is really a producer. She has a film background. She has the skill, the will and the passion.
“Liza and Bonnie asked if I would do a fence. The challenge is the fence is outside with the wind and the rain and sun beating down on it,” she said.
In addition to being on display in Oxford for the summer, the Picket Fences will be promoted online, with online bidding until Sept. 25 at https://portofoxford.com/picket-fence-auction-2020/. The fences will then be moved to the Oxford Community Center for an outdoor display and live auction (with social distancing and masks) to close out the project on Sept. 26.
The Oxford Business Association works to promote the town of Oxford and to provide a positive business environment for its members to achieve cultural, civic, economic and business goals and contribute to the prosperity and vitality of the Oxford community. Visit www.portofoxford.com for more information.