‘Ranch Candy Wassail’ event will raise funds for Lesley Villarreal Saturday

A print of “Social Distancing in Far West Texas” will be included in the sale event this Saturday to raise funds for Lesley Villarreal’s ongoing cancer treatment.

MARFA —  An event on December 18 at Ranch Candy in Marfa will have art and photo prints, tasty food and warm beverages for sale, with all proceeds benefiting Marfa photographer Lesley Villarreal as she continues her battle against a cancer diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma.

Local freelance journalist and photographer Sarah Vasquez — who says she learned much of what she knows about photography from Villarreal — devised a print sale to raise funds for Villarreal’s treatment, and recruited the help of Ranch Candy owner Hannah Mary Marshall to bring the fundraising event to fruition. “I thought of a print sale to raise some funds because Lesley and I are both photographers. In fact, we became friends through photography.”

Local photographers James Evans, Jessica Lutz and Rob Brill donated prints to accompany Vasquez’s work at the benefit. Rob Mazurek donated two albums, George Zupp donated some fine art pieces as well, and other local artists may hop on board in the next few days. The event starts at noon on Saturday at Marshall’s Highland Avenue shop. “I had this idea of a print sale, but I didn’t know how to make it happen  — that’s where Hannah came in. I asked her because she’s good at event planning and I knew she’d want to help Lesley as well. She quickly came on board and offered to host it at Ranch Candy.” 

The organizers have been calling it “Ranch Candy Wassail.” According to Vasquez, it was Zupp’s idea to host a wassail, after the early English tradition of toasting someone’s health. Marfa Meats will be donating food and Zupp will be manning the grill. Vasquez is seeking more photographers and a musical act to set the scene. “When Lesley told me about her cancer diagnosis, I immediately wanted to do something to help,” Vasquez said. “The GoFundMe helped tremendously, but Lesley still has a long and expensive road ahead.”

The community is invited to attend this event at Ranch Candy, 215 N Highland Street, on Saturday, December 18. The festivities will begin at noon. Performers and artists who wish to contribute art or other talents can contact Sarah Vasquez on Instagram @sarahmvasquez.