There is no more heart-warming way for art to align with charity than at the annual Art + Advocacy benefit. Highlighting the unique role art therapy plays in healing child abuse victims served at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, this annual event, held this year at Fashion Industry Gallery, tends to evoke a particularly emotional response from attendees.
This year the stakes were even higher, as the center is moving to spacious new digs on Samuell Boulevard in 2013. Works of mixed media, oil, pencil and photography from established and emerging artists donated by galleries such as Conduit, Craighead Green, Kirk Hopper, Holly Johnson, and Barry Whistler drew frenzied bids in both the live and silent auctions.
An anonymous donor contributed $25,000 on the day of the event, and auctioneers Ed Beardsley of Heritage Auction Galleries and Gail Sachson of Ask Me About Art didn’t have much trouble convincing the crowd to participate in a “Call for Cash” that this mysterious benefactor promised to match. The effort drew donations of $2,500 a pop as the seconds ticked by.
For Courtney Sinelli, who attended with her husband, Which Wich founder Jeff Sinelli, the cause had a personal resonance. “When I was a lawyer, I volunteered to do the family violence cases,” she said. “We lost almost every case because the victims wouldn’t testify. This cause has always been close to my heart, and I want to work to dedicate more time to it.”
The event was so festive that the crowd needed a reminder to stop socializing and pay attention to the final moments of the auction. One attendee made a generous offer of $50,000 in return for relative silence until the auction’s end.
For the center’s art therapist, Julie Espey, the evening was a success beyond the more than $500,000 final tally. “By integrating art into therapy, you can recognize the resiliency and healing that take place with each child,” she said. “Art is a profound natural form of communication.”
Supporters of the Children’s Advocacy Center included Tamara and John Bickel, Brian Bolke, John Clutts, Ginny and Mark Fein, event chairs Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman, Patricia Meadows, Laura Noble, Marlene and John Sughrue, Lisa and John Runyon, Ree and Jason Willaford, and Cris Worley.