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Macy's puts Haitian art in stores

Oct. 2, 2010 at 4:38 PM

NEW YORK, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. retailer Macy's said its stores were ready to put the first of its 20,000 art pieces purchased from Haitian artists up for sale.

The retailer's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Terry Lundgren said the purpose of the large rush order placed in Haiti two months ago went beyond company profits.

Lundgren said, "This is never going to be a financial game changer for a company like ours. But it can be a game changer for those artists in Haiti," he said.

The order had artists in Haiti scrambling to meet the deadline, The Miami Herald reported Saturday. Many of the artists are still living in tents in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake. Many are without electricity or running water.

But Haitian artisan Serge Jolimeau said, "A lot of people are working. A lot of people are living."

"After the earthquake, we didn't have much work. We didn't have much happening," he said. "But the Macy's project gave us support."

The Herald reported 35 percent of the sales receipts from the Haitian collection would go back to the artists.

Cameron Brohman, co-founder of the Brandaid Project, said Haitians involved in the project quadrupled their income for the year.

Macy's partnered with Brandaid Project and Fairwinds Trading and had support from the William J. Clinton Foundation in pulling off the rush order, the newspaper said.

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