When Noemi Kearns and employee (and sister) Ruth Zelanski lost their father during the summer of 2015, they knew they wanted to have both an appropriate and emotionally fulfilling send-off. As a prolific artist, textbook author and college professor, they decided that the most fitting way would be to have an exhibition of his work that would function as a fundraiser for a scholarship fund in his name at UConn, where he taught for more than 35 years.
Launched on what would have been his 85th birthday, the women started 85Wishes.org: an online exhibition of 85 of his collages, curated by Noemi, with the very specific goal of raising $25,000 in four months. The website was designed to inform visitors of the life, work and legacy of Paul Zelanski, and serve as a retail gallery space for the fundraising artwork we were offering for sale.
It was a great — albeit emotional — success. 85WISHES has met and exceeded its goal of $25,000 for the Paul Zelanski Award of Excellence Fund at the University of Connecticut, ensuring that not only is it established as an annual scholarship, but the actual prize money is growing.
So now that the initial goal has been met,
where does it go from here?
85WISHES is pleased to announce the next evolution of the organization for the fund: WORK|SHOP for 85WISHES: where Ink&Pixel will be offering gifts, for others or yourself, that celebrate Paul’s philosophy on life: have passion for the world around you, always stay curious, tell people that you love them, and above all else, Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy! The product series launches with a set of beautifully printed notecards showcasing reproductions from Zelanski’s wide expanse of collage work, and will continue with goods that inspire a colorful life.
This ongoing series is intended to not only feature Paul’s work, but also invites collaboration with other artists who share the 85WISHES vision.
“It will be work that excites us, on everyday objects that are useful and fun! But perhaps best of all, a portion of the proceeds of all items will go directly to the Fund. Our long-term goal is to grow the Fund large enough that the scholarship truly alleviates some financial burden every year for an art student. Paul believed firmly in education without debt, and he taught for 40+ years because he truly loved it. Being able to continue his legacy in education into the future is the best way we can honor him.”
-Noemi Zelanski Kearns, Ink&Pixel WORK|SHOP for 85WISHES
Are you interested in being a part of 85WISHES? Reach out, let us know… 85WISHES would love to hear from you and knows it would make the old man very happy.