A vital Dallas nonprofit is hosting a first-time fundraiser in Deep Ellum that combines what that neighborhood loves most: art and music. Held November 5 at Life in Deep Ellum, Rock Your Heart Out is an art auction and concert that benefits Dallas-based Human Rights Initiative (HRI), which is dedicated to helping immigrants find new lives in North Texas by offering free legal representation to immigrant survivors of human rights abuses.
Proceeds from Rock Your Heart Out help both children and adults served by HRI.
“We have asylum seekers who are here because of their religion, gender, or pro-democracy beliefs, and their life is no longer tenable back in their county. And we also have torture survivors,” says HRI executive director Bill Holston.
“The advantage for our country is that people in those circumstances are coming because they are attracted to our values,” Holston says. “They know what it’s like to live in a place without freedom of religion or expression, and they hold American ideals in very high regard.”
Rock Your Heart Out pairs seven local artists with former HRI clients. Each of these artists — through ceramics, paintings, and photography — are creating a narrative that documents the client’s path to safety, liberty, and opportunity. The pieces will be installed at Life in Deep Ellum for the Rock
Your Heart Out event, and event attendees and online followers will have the opportunity to bid on the art throughout the evening.
Participating artists include Sheryl Anaya, Chris Bingham, Kelly Clemons, Dylan Hollingsworth, Erin and Steve Reeves, and Richard Ross.
“The plight of refugees is close to my heart because I’ve spent time in some of the countries and places they’re having to leave,” says Hollingsworth. “I’m a little more sympathetic, having seen the conditions and circumstances these folks are fleeing.
“Getting the opportunity as artists to relay these stories and [give an] identity beyond just ‘refugee’ can open people’s minds and hearts to their humanity.”
The event also includes musical performances by Salim Nourallah with Treefort 5, Xuan, Cantina, and Ronnie Fauss.
Nourallah got involved with HRI a few years ago when he played another fundraising event. “It doesn’t matter whether you swing right or left, this is about compassion and helping people in need,” he says.
Rock Your Heart Out runs 7-11 pm at Life in Deep Ellum. VIP tickets are $100 and include open bar, hors d’oeuvre, valet parking, access to the VIP seating area, and a concert T-shirt. General admission tickets, which include beer and wine, are $35.