AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Steering Committee for Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibit presented checks on Monday to four local nonprofits who benefitted from the proceeds earned during the exhibit’s run from June 9 to July 23.

The Downtown Women’s Center, Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle, and the Amarillo Cultural District of the Texas Commission on the Arts all received more than $13,000 while the host of the exhibit, the Amarillo Art Institute, received more than $39,000.

“These nonprofits are benefiting from the exhibit that we had but they also provided volunteer hours and marketing services for us to really help boost the exhibit in Amarillo,” said Rachel Flores, Executive Director of the Amarillo Art Institute.

Flores said the Arts in the Sunset is becoming a community art center that helps other organizations.

“It’s always been here for the community but we want to go above and beyond that, and really be a space that is benefiting other entities,” said Flores. “It takes all of us together working together to combat the different issues that our city faces, and so I think every bit of help that we can provide to those organizations is something.”

Joe Watkins, past president of the Downtown Women’s Center, said “It’s a wonderful gesture and we will put it to good use for the ladies that need help and their children. That’s what the organization is for. We have helped over 37,000 people, ladies and children since inception of the program in 1989.”

Watkins said the DWC helps women and their children who are living on the street.

“So we take them from there, we get them in to apartment, we train them and put them into our stores in order to train them and get them back into the workforce of Amarillo community. So the children are also a very big part of it,” Watkins continued, noting they have over an 80% success rate for women who continue after the program. “We have three shelters that the ladies attend and at the end of that then they are back into the workforce.”

The exhibit went on to sell more than 7,000 tickets and saw a collection of the artist’s renowned ceiling frescoes from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel reproduced and on full display at the Arts in the Sunset, according to officials.

“So that really bodes well for bringing other exhibits and we weren’t really sure how well it would be received in Amarillo. But now that we know, I think we’re looking at bringing in other exhibits throughout the next five to 10 years,” said Flores.

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