Artists gather for a good cause

Local art gallery supports trauma survivors 

The Malibu art community and its friends gathered nearly 300 strong last week for a good time and a good cause. The Feb. 5 opening reception for “Love Malibu Style 2022” at the Tracy Park Gallery was a successful night, all to benefit a charity started by a Pepperdine alumna.

Thirty-one artists from Malibu and Los Angeles are showing their work and donating 10 percent of proceeds to an organization called Artists for Trauma. Beneficiaries include people who have been seriously injured in horrific accidents, such as the nonprofit’s founder.

The artwork on display and for sale includes acrylic and oil paintings, sculptures, collages, clocks, photography, and even jewelry. 

“It’s a wide range of work. There’s something for everybody,” commented Tracy Park, owner of her eponymous gallery where the art is on display. 

Local artists, including Eamon Harrington, Ivo Spirov, and Mark Estes, along with musician/artist Cisco Adler all contributed work. So did actor David Arquette, who contributed a photo collage print, and musician Dave Navarro, who also paints and supplied two canvases. “What’s lovely is most of the artists who participated in the show live right here in Malibu,” Park mentioned. “It’s local love.”

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Artists for Trauma was founded by Laura Sharpe, who serves as CEO currently. She knows trauma first hand. “I’m a very grateful and blessed quality-of-recovery helicopter crash survivor,” explained Sharpe, who was critically injured in the crash 14 years ago off Catalina Island. “It was a tragedy with significant trauma. Three precious lives perished — burned at Two Harbors.” Sharpe was one of three survivors. She described her trauma, saying, “I was completely decimated.”

In her recovery, Sharpe says art was “a very powerful healing component for me.” She explained that coming from an “art patron background; she was able to intersect with the art world.” She described it as “empowering.” 

“It really helped to distract me from the all-encompassing pain and allow me to transcend,” she said. 

Sharpe started Artists for Trauma to “pay it forward for others.”

“Many of us don’t realize until it happens to us or to someone in our family,” she explained. “After this tragic helicopter crash, I was enlightened. I felt possessed to be of service. You have to completely reinvent yourself.

“Artists for Trauma supports the community of survivors, thrivers, and difference-makers,” Sharpe said. “We do that through artistic expression, human connection, and medical collaboration.” 

The charity works with one of its partners, California Rehabilitation Institute at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, doing significant life-altering traumatic rehab for stroke victims and traumatic brain and spinal cord injury patients. 

Sharpe counts herself as “one of many grateful, successful thrivers. We hope to share with other people that there’s great opportunities for quality recovery following life-altering trauma.”

Sharpe thanked the artists and community for the support her organization has been receiving. 

“This is about collaboration. That’s what Artists for Trauma is about,” she said. “That’s what community is about. The Malibu artist community and the local businesses that participated fully represent that. The opportunity to intersect and be the recipient of the generosity of Love Malibu Style and the Tracy Park Gallery and all of these wonderful local and celebrity artists that participated – it was full of joy, positivity, and hope.” 

Sharpe gave a special shout-out to two of the exhibiting artists from Artists for Trauma.

“[They are] adaptive artists who are quadriplegic and have varying, unique, different painting styles,” she said. “We pay this forward to help all trauma survivors. Life, trauma, tragedy, and miracles are happening simultaneously at any given time across the globe across all cultures, colors, and ethnicities. We want to help support them in their reinvention process. We’re so blessed if we help just one person.”

The charity has helped nearly 10,000 trauma survivors worldwide in its decade-long existence. 

Park’s shows are known to benefit local organizations, too, including last August’s surf-inspired exhibit, with some proceeds going to the Malibu High surf team. 

“I try to give local love since that’s really what it’s all about,” she said.

Love Malibu Style 2022 runs through Mar. 5 at the Tracy Park Gallery at the Malibu Lumber Yard.

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