Since it started in 2006, the Art4Life event has grown from a humble HIV/AIDS benefit to one of the biggest (and most generous) events of the fall art season.
Kicking off at the Station Museum on Saturday, the annual two-hour silent auction has assembled what could be its most impressive collection of art to date, boasting nearly 70 works that have been donated by area artists, collectors and dealers. Click here for an online auction preview.
"The stories we hear about these donati ons show just how important the cause remains to be," Patelis says. "Even though these deaths happened decades ago, the pain is still fresh to so many people."
"This year, we have received at least $130,000 in art . . . way beyond our original expectations," says Melody Patelis, chief development officer for AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH), which organizes the event to help operate its housing and education initiatives.
As a blind-juried show, Art4Life has become an increasingly competetive event for artists through the years, according to Patelis.
"It's wonderful to get so much amazing work, because fundraising is more important than ever. We're fighting a new generation that doesn't remember the 1980s and the bi-weekly funerals we'd have to attend. There's this worry now that history might repeat itself. It's shocking that, after 30 years, the disease is still so rampant."
Patelis also notes the number of personal stories she's heard this year as donors drop off pieces of art.
The Moody Gallery, for example, submitted a drawing by Texas artist and HIV/AIDS victim James Reaban, whose work has been purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as well as the Menil. Painter and Houston native Brad Forsythe donated a work on behalf of his brother Roger Forsythe, an award-winning fashion designer who died of HIV-related lymphatic cancer.
"The stories we hear about these donations show just how important the cause remains to be," Patelis says. "Even though these deaths happened decades ago, the pain is still fresh to so many people."