Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Not Your Typical Garden Party – Art fundraiser in Sodus Point to benefit MS

Describing it as a “funky garden” alongside her 1825 Greek revival house, Martha Lightfoot excitedly talks about a fundraiser called “pARTy in the Garden” that will showcase her beautiful property in Sodus Point on June 29 to raise money for charity.
The idea for pARTy the Garden was hatched by Martha’s husband, Tom, former chair of the Fine Arts department at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The school had done a similar art lottery.

The Lightfoots plan to have more than 200 guests visiting their gardens and participating in an Art Lottery to benefit the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter. Proceeds will go to local programs and services for people living with multiple sclerosis, and to research to find a cure for the often disabling disease of the central nervous system. A nurse practitioner with the MS Clinic at the University of Rochester Medical Center, this is a cause close to Martha’s heart. The art lottery is a good fit for the couple, pairing Martha’s work with MS patients and Tom’s work as an artist. The artwork for pARTy in the Garden has been donated by alumni, students and faculty of RIT’s art department, as well as artists with the Print Club of Rochester and the Print Club of Buffalo.

“The artists didn’t even question donating the pieces of art for the National MS Society, “said Martha. “They just stepped right up.”

Party in the Garden guests will browse the artwork – everything from Jewelry to pottery, photographs, paintings, and more – and then mark on a sheet of paper their top 10 to 15 choices. Names go into the proverbial hat, and when a name is called, that person has 30-seconds to announce the piece of art they choose to take home. Everyone who participates in the art lottery goes home with a piece of art valued at $250 or more.

Party in the Garden will be a family affair for the Lightfoots, with the couple’s two teenage sons volunteering their time to carry artwork for the guests.

Martha is hoping for a large crowd, not worried about the toll the foot traffic will have on the gardens she and her husband created when they bought the house.

“It’s a beautiful old house,” said Martha, “and when we first moved in, there were no gardens. So we put in all trees. I have a greenhouse, and we put all the gardens in.”

And the gardens hosted the masses once before – back in 1994.

“We’ve already had our wedding there. My husband and I were married on the property, so we had 140 people,” said Martha. “I don’t care if people walk through. That’s just fine! People we don’t even know stop by our house all the time and ask to walk through.”

Against the backdrop of the beautiful gardens and unique pieces of art will be the more typical garden party features: great food, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, entertainment, raffle prizes, and a silent auction.

Tickets can purchased by visiting, or calling Valerie Hoak at 585-271-0805, ext 70373.

Tickets are $100 for an individual, without the art lottery, $150 with the art lottery; $250 patron level for two guests with art lottery for both. There are also sponsorships of $5,000 (platinum – ten tickets with art lottery for each and reserved table, with private preview reception with the artists), Gold Sponsorship at $3,000 (ten tickets with reserved table, and four tickets to a private preview reception with the artists, plus art lottery for each couple), Silver Sponsorship $1,500 for 10 tickets to the event and 2 tickets for the private preview with the artists, each couple has art lottery.)

The property is located at 8387 Bay Street, Sodus Point. The event will be held on Saturday, June 29, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Fundraiser to benefit the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter.