Since his retirement, Patrick Cooke has worked on his art mainly for his own enjoyment. This Sunday, some of his paintings will help children halfway around the world.
There will be a silent auction of 14 of his pieces at W Antiques in Mount Kisco in hopes of raising as much as $8,000 to help children who have been orphaned as a result of the AIDS epidemic in the east African nation of Malawi. There will also be gift certificates, furniture and other items auctioned Sunday afternoon to reach that goal.
“It’s for a good cause,” Cooke said. “I’m not worried about selling them. If they don’t buy, they don’t buy.”
Cooke, 87, a former bank executive who has lived in Pleasantville for over a decade, has been creating his art, largely consisting of abstract paintings and drawings, since he left the workforce more than 20 years ago. In the fall of 2016, he had his first exhibit at the Mount Pleasant Public Library.
His wife, Josie, helped make the connection. In 2012, she met Annie Mkandawire, a Malawi native who came to the area with her father as a missionary to the Pleasantville Presbyterian Church about 20 years ago. Mkandawire’s father was the director of an orphanage in Malawi and he and his daughter would organize various fundraisers to help raise money for the facility. Most of the children at the orphanage lost their parent to AIDS.
Josie Cooke said over the past several years they have also been friendly with Luigi Del Vecchio, who works at Mediterraneo Restaurant in Pleasantville. Del Vecchio operates W Antiques, an antiques and consignment shop on Lexington Avenue in Mount Kisco. He has been trying to convince Patrick to sell his paintings at his shop.
“I reached out to Luigi because he’s always been open to it and he immediately said yes,” Josie said. “He’s been anticipating doing something anyway. This was the right time.”
Patrick said his wife helped him select the 14 pieces for the auction from his collection of close to 100 works that he has at home or in storage. The paintings up for the auction have been hanging at W Antiques as part of an exhibit the entire month, which will culminate Sunday afternoon.
“I looked for more of the abstract or the unusual,” Josie Cooke said.
From 2 to 4 p.m. each Saturday afternoon this month, Cooke has been at the shop as part of an artist’s meet-and-greet and he will also attend on Sunday.
While his work has been slowly surfacing in local exhibits, Cooke continues to attend two local arts classes most weeks, one on Thursdays at the senior center in Chappaqua, the other on Fridays at the senior center in Pleasantville. He has been slowly expanding the reach of his art, much of which hangs in his Pleasantville apartment, but he remains self-deprecating about his work.
“A lot of people showed up, and like I said, I didn’t sell anything,” Cooke said of the library exhibit, from which he received strong feedback. “If somebody wanted something that they could call me.”
He painted a portrait of one person who had sought him out and the woman paid a fee for his work. Still, Cooke felt uncomfortable taking the money.
After a working life in the corporate world, Cooke is happy that he can receive satisfaction from creating art and have some others appreciate his efforts as well.
“Being able to do it and to have some success with it, helps me live,” he said. “It’s not the whole bag of wax, but it enhances life.”
The silent auction at W Antiques will be held from 12 to 4 p.m. this Sunday and will include a reception with light refreshments. It is co-sponsored by Ronni Rosenfeld Interiors. W Antiques is located at 342 Lexington Ave. in Mount Kisco.