The Cotati fundraiser focuses on supporting the arts


Cannabis dispensary Mercy Wellness teamed up with local artists on Saturday to host a fundraiser in Cotati benefiting the non-profit organization Santa Rosa Art Center.

The outdoor event took place in front of the company’s Redwood Drive store.

Crowds were limited in accordance with Sonoma County’s temporary ban on large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19. According to Mercy Wellness Marketing Director Chris Myers, social distancing and masks were required and all transactions were cashless.

The event featured a silent auction as well as a variety of handicrafts for sale, including paintings and jewelry. The artists in attendance had either worked with Mercy Wellness on loyalty program gifts in the past, or were introduced to the company through word of mouth, according to Myers.

Artists included painters and muralists Arsenio Baca, graphic designer Vinnie Schraner and Sevastopol gallery owner Lori Austin.

“We thought so [fundraiser] was a great opportunity to bring their art to the community and give them a little more exposure,” Myers said.

Each artist donated one piece to the auction, with proceeds going to the South A Street Arts Center. According to Myers, the pharmacy plans to match all funds raised.

Mercy Wellness, introduced to the center by Lori Austin Gallery, was impressed with its focus on expanding arts programs across the county, including with minorities and the LGBTQ community. According to Myers, it’s “just the right kind” of organization the company wants to support.

Established in 2014, the center promotes art in Santa Rosa through art classes for all ages, exhibitions and live performances.

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