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Martin C. Barry

Following a two-year absence because of the Covid pandemic, a total of $100,000 was raised on Sunday Nov. 13 by supporters of the Shield of Athena at their 27th annual Art Auction at the Casa d’Italia in Montreal.

Around 200 guests purchased up to 70 per cent of the paintings during the wine and canapé event with a cool jazz musical background.

Debbi Marsellos, who does the traffic report at Global every morning, was co-auctioneer, along with her broadcast media colleague Era Melinda Boquer. Both over the years have also worked on-air at CJAD 800.

A great success!

“We would like to thank all of the Shield of Athena supporters, volunteers and staff who participated and made this event a success,” Shield of Athena, which provides support to victims of family violence, said in a statement last week on their Facebook page.

Around 200 guests bought 70 per cent of the works available during Shield of Athena’s 27th Art Auction at the Casa d’Italia on Nov. 13. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

All proceeds from are going towards directly supporting a much-needed renovation and expansion of Athena’s House, the Shield’s 24/7 emergency shelter for victims of conjugal or family violence in Laval and Montreal.

Providing support

Since the shelter’s opening in 2004, thousands of women and children have sought refuge there. During their time, they are supported by experienced professionals within a secure and empowering environment.

Shield of Athena has grown greatly in the more than 30 years since its founding, as has its annual auction of art. “At that time, we had twelve artists and now we have over twenty,” Shield of Athena executive-director Melpa Kamateros said in an interview with the Laval News.

Among the dignitaries attending the art auction were the consul general for Greece in Montreal Katerina Varvarigou, Mount-Royal–Outremont MNA Michelle Setlakwe, and Saint-Laurent Member of Parliament Emmanuella Lamboproulos.

Close to her heart

“This is something that is dear to my heart,” Lambropoulos said in an interview with The Laval News. “Women need our support – especially those who are the most vulnerable.

“Melpa and Shield of Athena do an excellent job year after year to support these women, while helping to save lives not only of these women but of children as well,” added Lambropoulos.

“There are not enough spaces in shelters, and there’s not enough funding going towards shelters. So, this art auction is an amazing initiative which I really encourage everyone to support as much as possible.”

Among the artists whose work helped lift this year’s donations to the 100K level was Norma Akkelian, whose paintings sold out during an exhibit in September at the Galerie Erga in Montreal.

“I’ve been supporting Shield of Athena for years,” she said. “It’s a fantastic cause and Melpa does a fabulous job helping many women, children and families.”

Artists giving support

Another accomplished artist and long-time Shield of Athena supporter, Katerina Mertikas, came in from Ottawa to take part. Mertikas’ work is exhibited in galleries across Canada. “I love supporting Shield of Athena,” she said.

Sam Norouzi, vice-president of ICI TV and George Guzmas, editor and co-publisher at Newsfirst Multimedia, were presented with special awards for their support of Shield of Athena by the organization’s executive-director Melpa Kamateros. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

“I think it’s a very worthy cause and it’s wonderful to see people supporting the arts while enhancing their homes and at the same time doing some good,” added Mertikas.

Located in Laval and Montreal, Shield of Athena’s facilities offer multilingual services by professional social workers, trained cultural intermediaries and supervised law students.

Across Laval and Montreal, the Shield’s community outreach program also provides information to men and women in a wide range of languages. The organization’s multilingual sexual violence referral and help lines can be reached at (450) 688-2117 in Laval, and (514) 270-2900 in Montreal.

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