A Niagara-on-the-Lake artist is giving back the best way she can this year for Christmas.
Sandra Iafrate, who paints out of Gate Street Studio, in her garage at 358 Gate St., is donating 10 per cent of her December art sales to Red Roof Retreat.
People who happen to stop by with kids can also make their own Christmas ornaments by pouring paint into clear decorative bulbs and mixing it about.
Iafrate has set up a small table on one side of her brightly lit studio with a spread of paint and ornamental balls.
“So when families come in with kids, they could do their own ornaments.”
Iafrate said they can take their decorations home with them, or they can hang them on a Christmas tree she has set up on Queen Street for the Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas tree contest.
To participate in the activity, Iafrate is charging a small fee of $5, all of which will also go to Red Roof Retreat, she said.
Iafrate said her charity drive is off to a positive start after raising $200 in the first two hours of the Candlelight Stroll, Friday night.
Red Roof Retreat provides support and respite for families in Niagara that have children living with special needs.
It serves about 200 families and is mostly funded by charitable donations.
Iafrate said she works with a few different charities throughout the year, previously having helped groups like Kids Help Phone and the Children’s Aid Foundation.
“It’s really special to focus on someone who’s growing up and learning and if I can help support them, I will,” she said.
Iafrate’s gallery includes a series of paintings depicting women with flowers. Some of them peer out of the canvas from behind colourful roses and lotuses, their vision slightly obscured by leaves and flower petals.
The portraits are inspired by the Greek character Pygmalion, whose story was adapted into a play by George Bernard Shaw in 1913.
She also has a series of nature-themed paintings depicting Niagara scenes such as the Horseshoe Falls.
Iafrate wasn’t sure how much she’ll be able to raise for Red Roof Retreat, but said, “Last year with the Kids Help Phone I think it was around $600.”
She has been painting for about 28 years, but her gallery is relatively new on the block, having been open for about three years.