Tim Yanke honors Habitat for Humanity homeowners
The Birmingham, Michigan artist presented one of his “Yanke Doodle” works to William O’Keefe, the recipient of a new home in Pontiac, Michigan, during the home’s dedication ceremony on April 11, 2015.
O’Keefe and his schnauzer, Gunther, were overjoyed to receive the framed artwork. They’ve been in their new home since late November.
“The painting is incredible,” O’Keefe said. “I totally didn’t expect this, this is a great surprise.”
The dedication was coordinated by Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County (HFHOC). The non-profit Christian organization helps low-income individuals and families in need of decent shelter by building and renovating affordable homes.
Yanke’s “Yanke Doodle” collection pays homage to America and the ideals it was founded upon with his version of the U.S. flag. Like others in the series, the work Yanke donated to O’Keefe has the first verse of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the names of all 50 states written over the flag.
“You have sweat equity, you put over 300 hours into this home,” Yanke told O’Keefe. “Hard work and dedication is what got you to where you are now, and I think that is the basis for the United States.”
Yanke has donated about a dozen of his “Yanke Doodle” images since he partnered with HFHOC a year ago. His hope is to have one of his works in every new Habitat for Humanity home in Oakland County.
“It’s pretty cool having your art hanging all over the world, but it is a bigger honor and it’s a lot cooler hanging [it] here,” Yanke said.
HFHOC Executive Director and CEO Tim Ruggles said the program doesn’t focus on decorating the homes they build, so Yanke’s donations are a special touch that honors the families and individuals.
“It’s really a significant addition to our program,” Ruggles said. “We pride ourselves on creating unique partnerships where people who want to get involved can get involved with their own gifts and talents, and the partnership with Tim and Park West Gallery is a great example of that.”
Family members, HFHOC representatives and pastors gathered at O’Keefe’s home to bless and dedicate the home. Since O’Keefe was already in his home, HFHOC ceremoniously presented him with the keys.
The Parkers, another HFHOC family, were also the recipients of a Yankee artwork during their own dedication ceremony. Another three homeowners are expected to receive artwork this month.
HFHOC has served around 190 families in Oakland County since it began in 1995. HFHOC’s upcoming goals include the creation and implementation of a critical repair program, enhancing the family selection process and expanding outreach so that high-need populations are better served.