In fact, be.CAUSE owner Brianne Harness said she opened this art gallery with the intention of giving back and helping artists of all ages around Bloomington.
“I try to make everything super affordable because I think it’s crazy that art is thousands of dollars,” Harness said. “I want everything to be affordable for students and everyone in general. I try to work with each customer to find something that works for them.”
Harness said the art she sells costs a reasonable amount, and 10 percent of art sale profits are given to various charities . Harness is a three-time cancer survivor and said she wanted to find a way to combine nonprofits into a ?business.
“When I was going through my treatments I started working with nonprofits because I was sick and couldn’t do a whole lot of other things,” she said. “I came up with the idea of be.CAUSE because I could actually do art and sell it but then also give a percentage back to the causes that I like.”
Many people around Bloomington have come into her shop to purchase art, display their own art or to encourage her in her cause, ?she said.
Bloomington resident Megan Mahaffey said she connects with Harness because of what she is doing for the community at large.
“Her cancer battle has been a real tie for us emotionally,” Mahaffey said. “I am very much a give-back kind of person. I love supporting local (businesses), and even more so when I know I am also supporting a cause I believe in.”
Although Mahaffey has never battled the disease herself, she said she has seen the negative effects of cancer on those around her.
“Several years ago, a little girl who was in my sons’ Sunday school class was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, one of 12 primary forms of pediatric cancer,” Mahaffey said. “Morgan turned five just days after her diagnosis and spent the two and a half years following fighting for her life. She passed in 2010 but left me with a drive and passion to do more for kids dealing with cancer.”
Harness said that, overall, her art gallery has been doing well. She said be.CAUSE is characterized by its affordable fine art, painting parties and lessons and various gifts.
Harness said she also specializes in custom orders, such as portraits and painting customers’ favorite song lyrics or quotes, and is planning many art shows for this fall.
“The next art show will be for kids five to 18,” Harness said. “I’m also going to have a senior citizen show. Then I’m having a student show for people who have never had gallery shows before. I’m taking submissions right now online.”
To learn more about Harness and be.CAUSE, visit becausebloomington.com or visit the art gallery at 322 E. Kirkwood Ave., No. 206.
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