October 8, 2010

ArtAid looks to the future

As the organizers of this year's ArtAid prepare to welcome 1,500 people to their event this weekend, their thoughts are trained on the future.

As the organizers of this year's ArtAid prepare to welcome 1,500 people to their event this weekend, their thoughts are trained on the future.

"We're already planning ArtAid 20," said James Woods, a key organizer for the event. "There are going to be a lot of changes. We are planning bigger things ahead."

ArtAid benefits Positive Directions, a nonprofit organization that provides services to people with HIV and AIDS.

An often raucous, no-holds-barred party, it has gotten bigger and more popular with each year, with many fans making their reservations for the next year the day after the event, said Woods, chairman of outreach for Positive Directions.

The organization hopes to raise about $115,000 this year.

Here are five things to look forward to at this year's ArtAid 17:

1) Food. The evening begins with plenty of time to consume appetizers, have a drink and visit with friends.

2) Silent art auction. Browse and bid on more than 275 pieces of art, in all media, most of it donated by Wichita-area artists.

"It's bigger than it's ever been," Woods said of the art auction. "Our artists love us because this is a great place to be seen. It gives them great exposure and it helps us carry out our mission."

3) Live auction and raffle. One of the most exciting parts of the night is watching or participating in the live auction. This year, there are 24 works of art in the auction, including one painted by the featured artist, Tabitha Bean, gallery director of CityArts. Five raffle items worth a total of $6,000 will be awarded after the live auction.

4) Runway show. At about 9:30, the much-anticipated fashion show begins. This year's show, Woods said, has a full story line that centers on the theme of a three-ring circus.

"I'm not really supposed to know anything about it," he said. "For instance, I'm not supposed to know about the trapeze. Or about the live snake that the snake charmer will have. I'm not allowed to say that there are more than 60 models and 40 acrobats and performers in the show."

The runway show is produced by Planet Hair owners Tod Ernst and Graham Ross, and choreographed by Joshua Carlson.

Among the performers will be actors and actresses who often appear in shows at Cabaret Oldtown.

"It's the one night of the year when they shut down the theater so they can participate," Woods said.

Wichita State University and local dance studios also provide performers, he said.

"We have a huge acting and dancing (audition) and just pull from the community. They are all volunteers."

5) Dance party. After the runway show, the band The Naughty Astronauts take the stage to close out the party with music and dancing.

If you go

artaid 17

What: Silent and live art auctions, runway show, dance to music by the Naughty Astronauts. A benefit for Positive Directions.

Where: Cotillion, 11120 W. Kellogg

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

How much: Advance tickets $65, $75 at the door. Charge by phone, 316-722-4201.

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