For the last three years, I have worked with organizations in my community to raise awareness of human trafficking, with the goal of rescuing and rehabilitating victims. Each year, my inspiration comes from a different source. This year, I have been swamped with commissions and did not think I would have time to create a painting for the upcoming auction.
One night, while working in the studio, I heard Solomon Burke’s iconic song come across my tablet, and I had a sudden flash of inspiration. Because of the short time frame, I really had to work hard to get this painting set up and completed in time for The Night of Awareness.
None of us are Free if some of us are In Chains
12″ x 48″
acrylic on canvas
The concepts of individual liberty and human rights are inherent in both my art and the foundations of the modern abolitionist movement. The term freedom is not just an ideological construct; it is a basic human right. Freedom is the natural state of all human beings throughout the world, whether recognized by their governments or not.
Freedom cannot be infringed upon by any society or individual seeking the classifications of just or civilized. Daily, freedom is denied to individuals both openly and covertly, across the globe. We may turn a blind eye here in America, but that does not make the violation go away. It has been said that allowing a crime to go unpunished is itself complicity in the crime.
Unknown or ignored by most people, acts of slavery are committed on a daily basis without any redress for the victims. For the last two years, I have endeavored to to use my art as a means to address this issue.
From a moral perspective, we cannot turn a blind eye to the crime of human trafficking. Whether we are effected as individuals or not, whether there is a measurable public health crisis or not, we must eradicate human slavery practices wherever they exist. This is a true social justice issue for which everyone should feel compelled to raise awareness and eliminate its practice.
Human slavery is quite literally a stain on the very soul and fabric of our nation. Let’s come together as Americans and see to our own house, with open eyes, focused effort, and human compassion.
This drawing was the initial study for a large scale angel painting that I created to help raise money to fight human trafficking. My friend Katie was gracious enough to pose for the reference photos for this project.
The painting was purchased by a good friend, and consequently, has become one of my few donated paintings to remain where I can enjoy it. Just before Christmas, it survived a large fire and I had the opportunity to restore it for its owner. It is now on loan for my booth at Don Byram Art and Antiques hosted by the Jackson County Arts Council. If you live in the area, please stop by and check it out in person.
This is a rough preliminary drawing for a couple of upcoming series of work I am planning. The initial concept is for a small series of mixed media works on repurposed book pages. More advanced paintings of various song birds will develop as time allows.
This drawing is an example of what sometimes happens for an artist. Basically, we have a mental image of how things look and it sometimes overrides the actual subject. When teaching drawing to students, I always emphasize the need to draw what you see. They typically react by looking at me like I am a fool. The truth is, though, that you have a simplified and often idealized mental image of things you see often. These simplifications are manifested in your drawing if you are not focused on the subject. When working from references, the issue is compounded.
When I started on the subject of the Eastern Bluebird I was excited. They are one of my favorite song birds. In fact, I see them nearly every day now that I live in the country. When I sat down with my references, I didn’t give much thought to their being drawings rather than photographs. Once I completed my color study, I realized there were some discrepancies in the shape of the bird’s head and distribution of color.
A couple of days later, I saw some bluebirds flitting around the yard and realized the color was also off. The actual birds are a beautiful and rich indigo color, rather than the almost neutral blue in my study.
Mistakes, if you want to call them that, are no big deal in the studio. There is always something to be learned and skills to be developed as an artist. I personally have a rather drawn-out process that involves a lot of thinking and sifting through images or researching background concepts before starting a painting. I also like to see a progression of artistic development in my work. For this reason, I post the rushed and inaccurate pieces as often as the finished art. I also enjoy the juxtaposition of preliminary drawings with completed paintings so the viewer can see how a concept changes via medium or artistic development.
Consequently, I will post updates to this drawing as they are completed and links to finished paintings. Art is a process of growth, skill development, and creative expression. It is fluid and developmental for those who are focused on personal growth and advancement. This series is a window into my personal development as an artist. I hope it will inspire others to develop their own creativity.
This drawing is in response to the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act. What a lovely title. It almost makes you feel like they’ve done something to make politicians less corrupt. What they’ve really done is tell you who you can support and how much you can give them. Don’t be fooled by the tripe about getting the money out of politics. The guys with big money on both sides can find ways around something as insignificant as a little law. They already have in most cases. All it really does is make it harder for the little guy who’s trying to follow the law to exercise his right to free speech and to vote.
Making politics more transparent and less driven by money is a load and we all know it. There’s not much else to say. We all know these guys are just trying to stay in office and keep anyone new off their turf. People who break the rules under one system will do so under any system. Legislation doesn’t change that, it just makes things harder for people who follow the law.
The imagery in this drawing illustrates the red tape of government regulation silencing the people. We do this to ourselves when we continue to vote the same people into office year after year because of party loyalty. This is just one more reason I support term limits and hope to see third party philosophies become more popular. Completed – 2007 Medium: Charcoal and ink on paper Dimensions: 24w x 24h x 1d
Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her articles and interviews have been published at Blog Bytes , Big Hollywood, and WND . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.
Controlling the narrative is vital to influencing our culture, but what does this mean? Does it mean wresting the culture from the progressives’ cold, dead hands and never allowing open discussion again? No, it does not. It means demanding, fighting for, and creating an environment where everyone has the opportunity to express their views in the arts and entertainment industries. Any attempt to completely silence opposing views will only lead to a severe pendulum-swing of public support for the opposition. It is also vital that we resist the urge to be petty and vindictive. This kind of expression may win you points with your peers, but it reflects poorly on our movement in the long term. We are not here to preach to the choir. That is not how minds are changed or how meaningful impact on society is made.
With that idea in mind, how do you get started? Every artist has a different style, different interests, and different preferences for medium. I would suggest that you figure out what you like to work with first. Next, hone your focus. If you try to tackle too many ideas in one piece of art, you will likely end up with something difficult to understand. Decide which ideas or issues are most important to you, then do the research. This is particularly important if you are creating conceptual art or a documentary. Facts are incontrovertible and invaluable. However, your biggest challenge here will come from developing interesting and impactful iconography and/or a story line that interests the viewer. Don’t slap a bunch of statistics and a graph together and call it done. You need to make it interesting as well as informative.
What is MachinePolitick?
My personal work has developed immensely over the last decade that I have been creating intentionally political art. Much of my initial inspiration was based on personal attacks heaped upon me by my peers in the art community who were offended by the idea that anyone creative could be pro-American or Libertarian-minded. I’m sure you have all had some kind of similar experience for expressing conservative views in your own fields. I have been called everything from ignorant to a Nazi. I have been told it would be nice if I just painted something pretty instead of all this angry political work – yet everywhere I go, I see support for progressive, anti-American art, music and movies. These experiences were the main impetus for me becoming a conceptual political artist. A secondary motivation was the lack of initiative being taken on our side. We seem all fired up and ready to go now, but twelve years ago, openly conservative and libertarian political artists were virtually non-existent. There has always been a lot of noise on our side about how much progressive art sucks, how dishonest and detrimental modern art is, and the open hostility of the art community toward outsiders; but there was very little being done to change the culture publicly, and even less support for those who were taking this task on. Not being of a mind to play along to get along, I started thinking about how I could inject a political message into my art without having it come across as trite or boring. It took a few years to figure out how to transform facts and research into iconography that would appeal to people. It took somewhat longer to learn how to make the work more subtle, so that it didn’t make people angry at first glance. Though I don’t care all that much whether or not people like may art or take anything away from it, I realize that minds won’t be changed if people walk away angry. I also started to realize that I was learning more about the things I oppose and find offensive by talking to people who had a progressive world-view. You can do research all day long, but it doesn’t help you understand how people feel or how they can justify oppression and redistribution. I realized, one day, that I can’t create in a vaccum, and that I was finding inspiration for art in conversations with people who were often quite hostile.
Making it Pretty
One day my husband told me that he thought people need to be inspired by art, not always hit over the head with an idea. That was the turning point at which I realized I needed to find ways to be more subtle in the larger body of my work, as well as find ways to make art that was beautiful AND meaningful. This was the point at which I developed my Liberty icon and began repeating it in my work. I realized that, as angry as I was at being attacked and ridiculed, that I was missing the point of my own art and ideals about cultural change. So, this is the point at which we begin to discuss the how and why of my art.
I have a propensity for research and an overwhelming compulsion to cram it all into a painting. This is why you will see many layers within my art, often including words. I like to stick the reference material right in the art for you to read, if you’re paying close enough attention to notice it. This techniques gives a visual complexity to the art and draws the viewer in. It conveys ideas and boring facts quickly, without taking away from the aesthetic of the piece or beating the viewer over the head with an obvious message. Specific words and phrases can be highlighted or obscured to impact the message of the art and insure that the viewer ‘gets it’, even if they don’t realize it.
This is a visual tool I have developed and used extensively over the last few years. It is vital for several reasons and likely harkens back to my days at SCAD earning a degree in Illustration. I love to tell a story. I love to stylize and embellish. And I find that this technique broadens my audience considerably. People are not immediately sure what the painting is about, and often, they put their own spin on the meaning of the image. That’s okay, because the underlying message is still there.
This is particularly useful in reaching across the isle to change minds. We have to learn to engage people in ways they can relate to, get them to take us seriously, and most importantly give our views consideration. Iconography conveys messages sub-consciously without eliciting visceral reactions. Subtle elements like words, symbols, phrases, and graphics encourage closer examination and open discourse. Most importantly, if you develop a strong icon that resonates with people, you have the potential to shift the culture, and ultimately, change it. The repetition of images and ideas reinforces an idea or belief. With repetition comes recognition, and with recognition comes familiarity. Hopefully, this leads to better overall understanding and interest. There’s a fine line between propaganda and marketing, and we’re talking about both here. Though it takes time and perseverance, people begin to recognize your work. Once that happens you have the potential to reach a far wider audience. If you build a reputation around your work for integrity and consistency of quality and messaging, you will begin to earn support within your community for your work. Once this happens, you should strive to help others get established and lead by example. One of the biggest falsehoods in the art community is the idea that we’re all competing against one another. There is plenty of room for all of us; and the support that conservative and libertarian artists need is growing. The idea that we need to fight over a finite ‘pie’ is self-serving and ultimately detrimental to our movement. If we build associations, find ways to show our work together, and network as a group, we have the potential for a larger impact and return on the quality of our culture. #TakeBackOurCulture #IgnoreTheEstablishment #SupportTheArtYouWant #BeTheSolution
Wish me luck. I have submitted one of my crows for a local mural project. I will post more info if I am accepted.
The Free Range Art Project
Submission for Frances Byrd; email@example.com
Frances Byrd is a fine artist and freelance illustrator. She earned a BFA from the Savannah College of Art in Design for Illustration, has worked for an ad agency devoted to film marketing, and manages several projects online independently, as well as for other artists. Frances is currently serving on the board of the Jackson County Arts Council and is an active member in the planning and organization of the annual Folk to Fine Arts Festival in Commerce, Georgia.
Frances’ personal art tends toward the larger scale, with an emphasis on story-telling and icon development. She tackles a wide range of subjects, including current events and social issues. Most recently, she has made connections within the community with organizations combating human trafficking, including programs to rehabilitate and educate the victims. Frances makes an annual donation of art to a fund-raising event in Hall County called Take Aim at Human Trafficking.
Statement on the Art
The painting, The Revolutionary Halo of (Social) Justice, is part of an ongoing series of works designed to develop iconography based on the American Crow. This piece specifically questions the beliefs thrust upon us by society and community leaders for manipulative purposes. The striking profile of the crow and the painstaking rendering of the image combine to draw the viewer in to examine the subtlety of color and texture within the painting. Words within the underpainting peak through to invite closer examination of the work. The concept behind this series is to teach the individual to take control of the information they absorb and form educated opinions about their lives and society.
I recently read an article shared with me by a friend about the transition of the office of President to that of pop-culture celebrity. Please read the article first, so you can fully understand my response below.
Let’s Talk Solutions
Time and time again, I read articles about the problem with culture and politics; with little or no discussion of solutions. Though this piece alludes to the necessity of getting involved in the culture, it falls short of saying how or why.
I was so excited and optimistic about our ability, on the right, to address culture when I first attended CPAC in 2011. After the first day, I was disappointed by the myopic view of the majority of people being given a voice at the event; and their petty determination to be the sole arbiters of culture. You can read more about that in my article “What I Learned at CPAC“.
When I had a second opportunity to attend the event in 2013, I thought, surely people are starting to realize how vital culture is to controlling the narrative. Conservatives quote Andrew Breitbart all the time, after all. Nope. I was told I’m too confrontational and aggressive. I was shunned because I don’t fit the mold. This, by the way, is why we fail with our youth. We need to stop trying to cram them into a pair of khakis and a blue blazer, and listen to what they have to say.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get back on point. Do we need a pop-culture president? No. Do we have one? Yes. The precedent has been set, and we can cry about it, or we can do something about it. Does that mean we need a glitzy campaign in 2016? No. It means we need to use the culture to spread ideology, move people’s hearts, and impact the national perspective.
Let’s have a serious conversation on the impact of culture on mainstream ideas and political progress. Let’s stop complaining about the Hope poster by Shephard Fairey, and have a serious discussion of why it was affective and how we can utilize such means to promote smaller government and individual liberty.
The first step requires honesty on our part. Do we truly want smaller government, less spending and self-reliance? If we’re going to be honest, we’d have to accept that most of the people in D.C. are not truly interested in these concepts, much less acting upon them. It’s time for an ideological house-cleaning. I don’t mean personal attacks and infighting. I mean silence. Stop giving support to those who don’t share our goals. Work with those who do. Promote their ideas and records. What we don’t say is just as important as what we do say. I’m not demanding lock-step adherence to dogma. I’m saying figure out where you have common ground and work together on those issues with each group, candidate, individual. We should’t be demanding talking points, we should be taking back our culture and our country.
How do we shift from a presidential popularity contest, to the concept of conducting a job interview? We find ways to illustrate and promote the proper role of the Presidency. Diplomacy and statesmanship. Legislative record. Real-world experience. Connection to and understanding of the American people. Take the candidates off their Ivy-League pedestals. Make them dust off the glamour of Martha’s Vinyard and the Lobbyist’s boardrooms. Demand principle in action.
Simultaneously, we need to create work that inspires civic engagement. We need to teach people America’s history through images and entertainment. We need to revitalize national pride and dignity. We need to inspire people to take back our country and raise their voices for tomorrow’s generations. We need to give them reasons to believe in America and reasons to hope.
**The images below are my donations to the 2014 event**
Stand Up and Be Counted Among the Just
12 x 12″, acrylic on wood panel, 2014
A Moral Outrage
12 x 12″, acrylic on wood panel, 2014
A cultural approach to Human Rights issues
I am an artist. Until now, I have worked predominantly on patriotic and political themes. Some of you know me from Liberatchik, others from MachinePolitick; perhaps from both. You may be familiar with my monthly artist reviews of work by pro-American artists, or my occasional blog post about culture and propaganda. I will always work on these themes because I love my country deeply and hope to use my art to inspire love and respect for our Republic.
More recently, though, I have felt compelled to start using my art to help people who cannot help themselves; who live under truly oppressive and subhuman circumstances. With all the talk of slavery in the public forum lately, comparably has been said about the human trafficking industry. This must change.
I understand the power of art to move men’s minds and impassion their hearts. I hope you understand this as well. I understand that we, as individuals, have a moral responsibility to help those in need on a personal level. I hope you understand this as well. There is already a strong current of resistance building, of abolitionists, to fight the atrocities of human trafficking. You probably have an organization in your area. There are certainly national and global groups you could join or support. Please consider doing so.
I understand that art has the ability to capture the imagination. One of the most affective ways to do this is to develop iconography. Make a visible connection that elicits an emotional connection to the viewer. The issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery is so horrendous, that most people choose not to understand the magnitude of this international industry. It is more convenient to speak of slavery in terms of something that happened long ago, or is at least an issue in some third-world country, than to admit that it happens right here at home. When you admit that it is real, widespread, and local, you realize that there is a market for such an attrocity; and that is very unsettling, indeed. It is easy to shut down a web link or turn off a newscast, but once you have seen a piece of art depicting the atrocity, it lives on in your mind indefinitely.
This is not a call for gruesome and graphic works of art. I do not approve of shock art for any purpose. It is a call for advancing understanding of the issue and offering support to the victims and organizations trying to help them piece their lives back together.
In my own limited work, I have attempted to convey the horror of the situation while simultaneously highlighting and upholding the very real solutions available. I have tried to humanize the victims and inspire an understanding of the solutions. Most importantly, I am appealing to you, the viewer, to get involved.
***Images of the work in progress for this painting can be found on the page for my booth at a local shop, Libertas Americana***
Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com and LibertasAmericana. She has written for the Big Dawg Music Radio Blog and Breitbart’s Big Hollywood.
Two years ago, my family and I had a dream of moving to the country and getting a farm. Well, we didn’t get the farm, but we did move to the country. Although we technically live ‘in town’, it is only just so. With a cow pasture at the end of the road, it hardly feels like the city life we left behind. The small-town charm of Commerce has always appealed to us, but I didn’t know how we would fit in. Driving into Commerce is a little like going back in time. When you pull off the interstate there’s a beautiful, rusty, old water tower across from a quaint country church. A little further on, the railroad track begins to parallel the main road, which opens up into a traditional Main Street, with shops on either side. Most of the architecture is original and has that unmistakable aura of a small community with a rich history. It didn’t take me long to find the local art scene, or to get involved, but it did take some getting used to. With a Fine Art background in Illustration and a love of highly technical work, I had no grasp of the Folk Art genre. Though I am still learning, I have come a long way in two years. Now, I am developing my own style of folk art and primitives that carry the themes inherent to my fine art.
The Crows Come Marching Home
Mixed Media on Corn Crate Panels
Furniture and Lumber Salvage, Rusted Ceiling Tiles, Calla Leaves
I didn’t realize it at the time, but over a decade ago, I was laying the foundation for a movement to #TakeBackOurCulture. For years, I had been struggling with the desire to create art that would sell and painting things that I found inspiring or meaningful. My passion and inspiration took me in the direction of meaningful work, but the more involved I became in the art community, the more I realized that, as a libertarian, I was an outsider.
Two articles by my partner at Liberatchik describe the way I was treated, time and time again, when it became obvious to my peers that I did not share their social and political views.
Over six years ago, Christopher found me, compliments of the internet, and asked me to help him find other artists who were going through the same things and help him build a community where all of us could show and discuss our art and ideas. We have gone through many metamorphoses over the years and grown exponentially. Today, there are over 40 artists working with us in some capacity, though all do not share their art in our public forums.
Below is my artist statement, which hasn’t changed all that much over the years. I look forward to the day when I can work in my studio or write, as the mood strikes me, without the need to fight for equal representation in the arts and culture or open-mindedness and honesty from the cultural elite.
In our current political climate, a new vanguard of artists are beginning to raise their voices through works depicting previously unexpressed (at least openly) conservative political views. As an individual expression, political art is a powerful tool for political activism, and arguably crucial to fomenting political change. Propaganda techniques are indispensable. Whether or not you agree with the artist whose work you are viewing, you should be able to respect their right to free speech. As artists, I believe we have a duty and responsibility to put forth opposing points of view to that of the establishment, whomever they may be. We need to combat lies and misrepresentations with verifiable facts and expose the treachery of blindly following ‘approved’ ideas and agendas. It is time that those of us who still hold the individual supreme stand up and make our voices heard. We now face a turning point in the history of America, where we can succumb to the whims of the State and willingly accept bondage, or lead the way to a Liberty Revolution with the purpose of restoring America to a Constitutional Republic. Mrs. Pelosi once sneered, in a statement meant to squash open dialogue, “Are you serious?”; I say “Yes Ma’am, I Am”. As libertarians and conservatives, what should we be promoting through our art? Self-reliance, personal responsibility, a return to the principles of individual liberty and limited government. Freedom over tyranny. Reverence for beauty in reality and imagination, and the use of ugliness sparingly, as a means to illustrate a point, not an end goal. We must define our principles clearly, then promote them effectively and repeatedly in ways that are quickly and easily understood. We have the ability to make a lasting and significant impact in this war of ideas, if only we can find the nerve and the strength to oppose the status quo. Art, regardless of genre, has the ability to reduce complex concepts to easily grasped ideas, raise people and ideas to the status of icons, and reach wide audiences through a variety of means. It is my goal, through my personal art, to promote the ideas of Liberty and individual integrity. I believe that America is a great country and patriotism should not be a stigma. There is nothing selfish in taking pride in one’s accomplishments. I hope that America will one day return to a truly free nation, because it has not been so in my lifetime. I want to leave America better than I found it. My art is my tool for shaping that future.
It’s that time of year again! The annual Folk to Fine Arts Festival in Commerce, Georgia is coming up the first weekend in March. I will be returning as a vendor with the work I have been creating under the name Libertas Americana. In addition, I will have work by several regional artists and a few members of Liberatchik. This is a great opportunity for me to discuss art and culture with members of my community while introducing them to fine art by conservatives and libertarians from across the country.
If you have been following me for a while, you know I am new to the Folk Art scene. It’s a big deal, and I am becoming more open-minded about the genre than I once was. I have even started to work in a more simplified style in order to appeal to the existing market. Check out my Libertas Americana and Americana/Patriotica links for examples.
Here is my review of last year’s festival. Please consider making time in your schedule to come out and see what we have to offer. The venue alone is worth the drive. Additional events are also being organized outside the venue to generate interest in our community.
2015 Press Release
Two years ago, my family and I had a dream of moving to the country and getting a farm. Well, we didn’t get the farm, but we did move to the country; and this is how it happened.
We have been driving up to Commerce for fifteen years now, to attend family reunions. The small-town charm has always appealed to us, so when we heard about the Folk to Fine Arts Festival in the midst of house hunting, we made a trip up to check it out. As an artist, I was hoping to see what the art community looked like. Driving into Commerce is a little like going back in time, and it is that slower pace that has always made us enjoy our visits. When you pull off the interstate there’s a beautiful, rusty, old water tower across from a quaint country church. A little further on, the railroad track begins to parallel the main road which opens up into a traditional Main Street with shops on either side. Most of the architecture is original and has that unmistakable aura of a small community and historic charm.
The Civic Center, which hosts the festival, is in an old denim factory that has undergone minimum renovations and retains much of it’s original charm – and it is a sight to be seen. The festival has grown by leaps and bounds each of it’s 4 years, and, with over 70 regional artists it has a little bit of everything for everyone. My experience at the festival itself was quite different than I had expected. I am used to the Atlanta art scene, so the friendly atmosphere and vibrant personalities of the artists was unexpected. The majority of people here are just nice. They want to know about you and where you come from. If you pass muster, they want to know what makes you tick. Suddenly, you’re a part of the ‘community family’ and folks are helping you out. Many of the vendors know one another from the festival circuit and they come in shouting hellos and sharing stories. There’s a sense of belonging and community spirit here. This atmosphere also extends beyond the festival into the community of Commerce itself.
Upon entering, I found myself surrounded by brightly painted gourds(chickens of course, that I wanted to buy up and take home), eclectic jewelry, face jugs, story quilts, metal art and a wide variety of folk and fine art paintings. I suddenly felt a sense of belonging I had never felt in the Atlanta art community. Perhaps, as my husband often says, I need more whimsy – and I found it at the annual Folk to Fine Art Festival in Commerce, Georgia.
Friday, March 6th Meet the Artists Reception 6-9pm $15 includes complimentary drink tickets and weekend re-admission to the festival
Saturday, March 7th Festival is Open 10am – 5pm $7 admission; Children 10 & under are free
Sunday, March 8th Festival is Open 10am – 4pm $7 admission; Children 10 & under are free
I don’t know how aware you are of the global slave trade. I have known about it through a friend for several years, but only recently got involved through my art. I have to admit, I wasn’t inspired to learn more about human trafficking and slavery – who would be? It is a horrendous crime with devastating effects across the globe. It’s much easier to pretend it is not happening. But that, would not be the right thing to do.
I have had many conversations over the past few years with my friend who leads mission trips to South America, working with one of the major activists in the movement, and the children she rescues from the human trafficking ‘industry’, My partner at Liberatchik, Christopher Cook, and I have been talking for several months about turning the Liberty conversation into a Human Rights conversation.A couple of months ago, I met a young lady who is active in my community with an organization trying to stop the spread of human trafficking. I decided it was time to stop being squeamish on the subject, dust off the copy of “Not for Sale” in my studio and get to work on something. I offered to donate two small paintings for the Taking Aim at Human Trafficking expo to help raise money for their organization.