Local artist Eugene Sargent has touched the lives of countless residents in Fayetteville in one way or another, whether they know it or not.
He is the sculptor behind the 45-foot worm and the unique benches near the castle at Wilson Park, the giant locomotive at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, the giant butterfly bench at Leverett Elementary commissioned in memory of former student Olivia Ray, the painter of the mural on the side of Tanglewood Branch Beer Co., among countless other interesting works around town.
Now Sargent, who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma, has inspired a bunch of local residents to come together to plan a fundraiser to help defray some of his treatment costs.
The event, which includes live music, a raffle, silent and live auctions, will take place Sunday, July 22 at Greenhouse Grille.
“In a nutshell, Eugene is awesome,” said event co-organizer Melissa Terry. “He has done so much for this community, and inspired so many people through so many great projects. We just feel like it’s the least we could do.”
Local musicians Farmer & the Markets are set to perform at the event, and other bands will be added soon.
Terry said the live auction will feature several unique items.
“Big Smith signed their washboard after their last show in Springfield, so that’s one of the things we have for the auction,” she said. “Plus the artist community has been really supportive to donate their work to the cause. We have some really great pieces already.”
Terry said that she hoped the event would feel more like a fun art party than a typical fundraiser. “It’s definitely a benefit, but we’re also trying to make this a community celebration of Eugene and his work,” she said.
Organizers are still looking for auction items. Those interested in contributing an item can email littlebreadco(at)yahoo(dot)com. A fund has also been established entitled “Donation Account for Eugene Sargent” at the Bank of Fayetteville for those who’d like to donate to the cause.
A bit more information is available on the benefit’s Facebook event page.