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A Look At How Kitchen Tiles Inspired A Signature Hamptons Summer Fundraiser

Nicole Barylski

Dan Welden's kitchen tiles. (Courtesy Photo)

Each year, The Retreat calls upon generous artists and celebrities to create one-of-a-kind, hand-painted ceramic platters that are showcased and then auctioned off during All Against Abuse, The Retreat's annual gala. For this year's benefit, the non-profit has recruited a particularly special group of artists - children who have spent time at The Retreat's shelter.

"We are so excited to celebrate the successes of our survivors and of our programs at our All Against Abuse event," shared Loretta Davis, The Retreat's Executive Director.

Toni Ross' platter. (Courtesy Photo)

First held in June 1996, the benefit is a result of a group of dedicated Retreat supporters who came together at the residence of artist and printmaker Dan Welden to brainstorm fundraising ideas for the young organization. While at Welden's home, it was the artist's unique kitchen floor that led the volunteers to present the inaugural Artists Against Abuse fundraiser - which was later renamed All Against Abuse, as all are welcome to support the vital non-profit.

So, what was it about those floor tiles that sparked the idea for The Retreat's signature summer soiree? Well, Welden didn't want just any boring tile, so he reached out to friends to hand-paint a small square tile. The response was a resounding yes, leading to over 100 one-of-a-kind works - including masterpieces from Justin Greenwald, who will be featured at All Against Abuse this year, and Ann Chwatsky, who was in attendance at the original meeting and has championed every All Against Abuse ever since, that still embellish his floor. The strong response to Welden's request and unique event concept led those at the house to take a chance and create an event that revolved around spectacular hand-painted ceramic platters. And that chance has most certainly paid off as All Against Abuse has raised over $2.5 million in support of The Retreat's mission of offering safety, shelter and support for victims of domestic abuse and ending the cycle of family violence.

The 2018 All Against Abuse will feature works by April Gornik, Barbara Maslen, Barry Kreiswirth and Lisa Allen, Dan Rizzie, Jack Youngerman, Jill Musnicki, Justin Greenwald, Miles Jaffe, Peter Dayton, Toni Ross, Dan Welden, and Lynn Savarese - as well as those budding young artists. It will also honor Joy Behar and Robin Hommel-Tenenbaum for their tireless support.

The children who stay at The Retreat's shelter are invited to channel their creative side - using it as a way to project their wish for wellbeing and love. The masterpieces that they have created especially for the benefit are striking and touching - portraying their powerful message of hope.

"We bring our wonderful staff, supporters and survivors together to share this festive evening," Davis noted. "It is really a celebration of all the community support that is so generously bestowed on the Retreat and its clients."

Since it was established The Retreat - which is the East End's sole domestic violence agency - has assisted 6,625 individuals, with 115 clients finding solace and shelter at The Stephanie House, 324 clients receiving counseling services, and 137 in-school violence education programs have been presented. Services offered by The Retreat include a 24-hour bilingual hotline, counseling, legal advocacy, prevention education, and emergency shelter.

"All the funds raised on June 9th will go directly to our strong, expanded services and programs!" Davis explained. "Survivors, kids and adults, change and enhance their lives through counseling, advocacy, and case management. If needed, they also get a roof over their heads so they can heal and move forward."

The Retreat's All Against Abuse will be held on Saturday, June 9 at The Muses in Southampton. The event will take place from 6:30 to 11 p.m. and feature the signature platters, of course, as well as catering provided by Art of Eating, music from East End Entertainment, and more. Tickets are $500.

The Muses is located at 111 Saint Andrews Road in Southampton. For more information, visit retreatgala.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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