Activism, art and music will collide when Save Maumee Grassroots Organization hosts its first ever Save Maumee Art-N-Party from 4 to 11:55 p.m. Feb 25 at The Phoenix-Broadway.
The event will kick off at 5 p.m. with painting lessons from artist Terry Ratliff. This will be followed by a concert featuring local bands The Greatful Groove and URB at 7 p.m.
Abigail King, president and founder of Save Maumee, organized the event with her board of directors to raise money for and bring awareness to a cause she feels is often overlooked.
“I was horrified by how little people seemed to know and care about the damage being done to the Maumee River,” King said. “So I started a website in 2005 and started trying to clean up the river with a dedicated group of people. Now, we want to do even more for the riverbank, but we need help from the community.”
King said she was first inspired to start Save Maumee when she moved into a house next to the river and was told she couldn’t let her son swim there. She thought this was ridiculous and made it her mission to improve the water quality in any way she could.
Soon, a “scrappy but dedicated” group of activists joined her mission and cleaned up trash, helped plant trees and protested around the riverbanks, King said.
Nearly 12 years later, Save Maumee is not so scrappy anymore. The organization has received its first government grant and has removed over 30,000 pounds of trash from the riverbank.
Save Maumee has accomplished all of this thanks to the enthusiasm and work ethic of its members, said Celia Garza, vice president of Save Maumee.
“What really drew me to Save Maumee in the first place was that no one was getting paid, but everyone was working their butts off to get the work done,” Garza said. “They believed, and still believe, in being good stewards of the environment and getting dirty and not being afraid to speak their minds. They’re very very different from other nonprofits in that way.”
For King, Save Maumee is just as much a celebration of this hardwork and dedication as it is a fundraiser.
“We thought that having an Art-N-Party would be fun,” King said. “I chose these bands and this artist because they’re the people who have been on the river banks with me. They’re the people who hang out, that are down there every single time I tell them I need them, and I thought they could put on a fun show.”
Tickets to the Save Maumee Art-N-Party are $45 for adults and $10 for children and can be purchased on eventbrite.com. Attendees can have a tree planted in their honor for $20. A raffle with prizes from local business will also be held during the event.