Art auction raises funds for HIV patients
Art lovers found a whole gamut of art pieces to be auctioned during the Matisse March Madness fundraiser on Saturday to help support an agency that assists HIV/AIDS patients.
"We have the makings of a really, really exciting and fun art auction," Jeanette Deas Calhoun, executive director of East Texas Cares Resource Center, said.
The silent auction of approximately 170 art pieces donated by local artists was expected to raise from $12,000 to $16,000 for the center.
About 150 people attended the auction at The Market at the Crossing on Three Lakes Parkway. Neighboring businesses were open, providing a shopping extravaganza.
"This fundraiser is extremely important to our agency because it allows us to continue and support the programs that we have for our clients. Moneys generated will go directly into program services," Ms. Calhoun said.
This was the eighth annual auction.
"The community has been tremendously supportive of this fundraiser and it has grown each year. We have more art than we've ever had," Ms. Calhoun said.
People who came were able to pick up "some phenomenal pieces at very reasonable prices," she added.
Art objects auctioned off included print art, photographs, oil paintings, acrylics, water color paintings, vintage jewelry, panels done with fibers and heavily textured, a blue dog lithograph and hand-thrown high fired pottery.
"There's something here for everybody," Ms. Calhoun said. "There is fabulous pottery and the art is absolutely amazing."
As Amy Duquette strolled among the art displayed, she said, "I think it's awesome; I love seeing all the local artists come out and show their art."
Mariah Taylor, who recently moved to Tyler, said, "There's some really beautiful pieces of art. I think it's neat that it's all local artists and they donated to the cause. That's neat too."
Dr. Larry Chism said, "The art's wonderful. We've seen some photography, we've seen some original art work - large pieces and small pieces as well. We have food and drink. We're all bidding on the silent auction and hoping to get something to take home."
Shellie McAllister, of Tyler, said she was impressed with the talent she saw from East Texans.
Ruth Thomas, of Ben Wheeler, called the auction "a lovely event" and expressed hope it would raise a lot of money for a very worthy cause. She added that she donated a painting for the auction, because some of her friends have died of AIDS and "it's touched close to my heart."
Bids ranged widely from $20 for a small object to an opening bid of $1,000 for a framed water color.
The auction was named for the French artist Henri Matisse because Melissa DeCarlo, who conceived the fundraiser, was fond of him. At the time, she was a board member and remains a donor and supporter of the center.
East Texas Cares Resource Center has evolved under different names since its start in 1989 as a hospice called His House providing services to people in East Texas that were living with HIV and served in that role for 12 years.
Then it transitioned into a resource center named Tyler AIDS Services providing services to people living with HIV and AIDS and also providing prevention education to East Texas.
"We changed our name to East Texas Cares Resource Center in October 2012 to reflect more accurately what we do," Ms. Calhoun said.
Its emergency assistance program provides support for utilities, housing and pharmacy for HIV clients and also provides case management.
"Another thing we do is we run a project called Reclaim that was funded through the City of Tyler and with this program we help persons with finding jobs, going back to college (or) getting a GED so they can enhance the quality of their lives," Ms. Calhoun said.
It is a successful program that places people back in the work field and gets them off of entitlement programs, Ms. Calhoun said.