Everyone is invited to these special events!
The December 9 event coincides with the Annual Member Holiday Sale. Members will save 20% on this date.
Art, Not Just Jewelry, is a local Sarasota/Manatee business that promotes and sells a line of quality, hand-made beaded jewelry produced by a not-for-profit organization in Tanzania, Africa that empowers Maasai women.
Historically, the Maasai tribeswomen in the Mkuru region generated income by cutting down trees to make and sell charcoal. The resulting deforestation was unsustainable and destructive to the balance of the ecosystem. Now, instead of making charcoal, these talented women artisans are producing meticulously handcrafted pieces of wearable art using designs created by students at the Instituto Europea di Design in Milan, Italy. The organization is called Maasai Women’s Art and is a fair trade and ethically sourced organization.
Sales from this unique collection provide these artisans with steady employment. They work on their tribal lands without being separated from their children. They are paid a fair wage, which helps the women gain economic independence in addition to providing basic needs, such as food, medicine and education.
The jewelry is now available for purchase in many museum stores across the United States including The Ringling, in part due to the work of Katherine Benoit of Lakewood Ranch, Florida, owner of Art, Not Just Jewelry, who fell in love with the Maasai jewelry while traveling in Tanzania in 2015. “While visiting, I was in an Art Gallery in Arusha and saw this beautiful handmade beaded jewelry. I had never seen anything like it before. When I came home, my research found Maasai Women’s Art”.
“The Maasai women have tough lives. They have to collect wood and water to cook for the family and then look after the livestock. Their views generally aren’t considered in community decisions, and they often suffer physical abuse. Around 99% of the women are illiterate and live in poverty. I am certainly not able make radical changes in their hard lives but at least the money from the beadwork improves their confidence, self-esteem and the quality of life for themselves and their families,” Katherine stated.