Arts & Culture

ArtAID fundraiser to have 'Heroes & Villians' theme

"Heroes & Villains" will abound in the Cotillion Saturday night for ArtAID 16.

That's the theme of this year's annual fundraising event for Positive Directions, which has become one of the city's most anticipated events and one of the nonprofit organization's most profitable ventures. Organizers anticipate that it will bring in more than $100,000, all of which will go toward running the operations of the local AIDS care organization.

Attendees, many of whom will be decked out as their favorite good or evil comic characters, will be transported to another dimension as they enjoy an evening full of art and fashion.

The room will be swarming with hundreds of fashion-forward guests. Food will be provided by Corporate Caterers. A silent art auction will begin when doors open at 7 p.m. A live art auction starts at 8 p.m., followed by the much-anticipated runway show at 9.

The Naughty Astronauts will entertain the crowd late into the night after the runway show has concluded.

Event organizers are excited by the extra flair this year's show promises.

"There will be lots of surprises built into the show," event co-chair James Woods said. "The Cotillion will look and feel completely different. There will be a sense of Gotham City when you're there."

Woods said that the theme —"Heroes & Villains" — refers to more than just comic books or cartoons. It extends to metaphors about good versus evil as well.

Those themes will be explored during the famed fashion show, he said, which will be even more visible at this year's event. The stage has been built out 16 feet, he said, and audiences will have a good view of it from almost anywhere in the banquet area.

More than 80 models will participate in the production put on by Planet Hair's Tod Ernst and Graham Ross.

"Tod and Graham always do a great job, but this year is really going to be something special," said Woods. Clothing will come from Aspen Boutique and Section 37, with many of the outfits also put together by Planet Hair.

As in years past, visual art will play a prominent role in the event. More than 200 pieces have been donated by artists to help out the cause.

"It's the art itself that really makes ArtAID," said Woods.

Woods noted that the live auction alone typically raises around $40,000 each year. Local favorites such as John and Carnie Ernatt, Marc Bosworth, John McCluggage and Patrick Duegaw have donated pieces. Elly Fitzig, known for her vibrant colors, has donated her largest piece ever for the live auction: a 3-by-4-foot painting called "Lean on Me."

At the heart of ArtAID are the people who have been affected by HIV/AIDS, Woods said. The program always pays tribute to the local people who have died from the illness during the preceding year.

The event is a way to honor them and pave a way for a hopeful future, he said.

All proceeds from ArtAID go directly to financing projects like Positive Direction's food pantry as well as its HIV screening tests and other services.

"Without the Wichita arts community, this event wouldn't happen," Woods said.

If you go


What: Annual fundraiser party and fashion show benefiting Positive Directions

Where: The Cotillion, 11120 W. Kellogg

When: Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday.

How much: $65 at the door

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