On the evening of March 7th, all three elegant Harmony Motors showrooms will be transformed into a gala galaxy hosting the 6th annual OpenDoors of Asheville fundraiser. Dubbed Art Affair 2015: A Starry Night, the spectacular event features both silent and live auctions. Up for bidding will be more than 75 highly collectible original works by locally and nationally acclaimed artists; travel opportunities; exquisite handcrafted jewelry, and other uniquely valuable items. Festivities include performances by an aerial dance troupe, live music, “celestial” stilt walkers, and cuisine and libations from many of Asheville’s finest restaurants and social lounges. There will also be a raffle and one lucky ticket holder will have the chance to win a brand new 2015 Porsche Cayenne.
The live auction will be conducted by Andrew Brunk of Brunk Auctions and Antiques Road Show. During the auction professional art handlers will also be decked-out in couture especially designed by R. Brooke Priddy of Asheville’s Ship to Shore Clothier. Priddy’s creations have earned an international reputation in the fashion world, and some of her gowns have even been exhibited in museums. Her collaborative partner, Parker Pfister, who was named one of the “Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World,” donated photography to help promote Art Affair 2015.
“A hardworking team of many talented volunteers has put in countless hours to ensure that this event is unbelievably fun and fabulous,” says Art Affair Event Chair Jennifer Bock. “We hope everyone will attend and enjoy wonderful company in a festive atmosphere, fueled by scrumptious local cuisine, beer, and wine. Best of all, your participation provides positive, life-changing assistance to those in need, right here in our own community.”
The grand event, which dozens of volunteers have been planning for almost a year, directly supports initiatives to help Asheville youth break the cycle of multigenerational poverty.
“Everyone has a unique gift,” explains Jennifer Ramming, Executive Director of OpenDoors of Asheville, “despite adversities compounded by growing up in poverty. Our mission is to recognize and celebrate those gifts while strengthening and inspiring each individual student. We invest in children by giving them the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to invest in themselves, overcome the vicious cycle of poverty, and reach their full potential for the betterment of the whole community.”
The organization partners with schools to train public elementary teachers specialized Orton-Gillingham reading intervention. OpenDoors also funds individual tutoring sessions for dyslexic students living in poverty who are in great need of intensive intervention. The tutoring continues even during the summertime, so that kids don’t fall behind while out of school but instead leap forward with confidence into the next grade. Those summer initiatives are additionally facilitated through the generosity of Camp Spring Creek.
According to the Census Bureau, the national poverty rate in the USA, is 15% for the population as a whole. But the national child poverty rate is 21.8%. Children in North Carolina face significantly more difficult odds, however, because the rate of child poverty in this state is 26%. Only nine states in America have higher percentages of child poverty, according to statistics from the Kids Count Data Center.
Fortunately, dozens of local youth in poverty receive daily support and enrichment opportunities through a variety of OpenDoors initiatives and services. The organization provides educational and enrichment opportunities and a supportive, personalized network that lifts young people up so they can thrive.
Art Affair 2015: Starry Night is at 7 p.m. (VIP reception 6:30 p.m.) on March 7th, 2015 at Harmony Motors, 621 Brevard Rd, Asheville. For more information please visit the official OpenDoors of Asheville website (www.opendoorsasheville.org).
(photo by Katherine Brooks)