"Art for Life," an afternoon of performing and visual arts featuring some of Utah's finest musical and artistic talent, is planned for Sunday, March 10, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Tivoli Gallery, 225 S. State, as a fund-raising event for the Utah AIDS Foundation.
Forty to 50 donated works, ranging from oils and watercolors to scuplture and original jewelry pieces, will be sold during silent and live auctions that afternoon and evening.Honorary co-chairmen for the benefit are Gregory Saint-Thomas, artist, pianist and composer, and Randi Wagner, one of the region's busiest painters. Both have consigned several artworks for the auctions.
Local performer Mark Chambers of Salt Lake Acting Company is chairman of the program.
Other prominent Utah and regional artists contributing their time and talent to the Utah AIDS Foundation function include Gary Collins, Ursula Brodauf, Larry Barnard, Randall Lake, Joan Nelson, John Horjes and Clayton Robbins. Their paintings and sculptured pieces will be on display at the gallery. Patrons attending the event will be invited to bid on the works during the silent and live auctions.
Two musical interludes are planned. The first will be about 2 p.m., featuring Saint-Thomas, who will perform his own works and pieces by Debussy and Chopin, and the second, scheduled about 3:15 p.m., will spotlight Chambers and his recently formed, six-member "Completely Gershwin" company in a 45-minute program of tunes by the Gershwins.
The latter segment is derived from a cabaret act that Chambers and five others have been presenting on Monday evenings at Green Street in Trolley Square. The company includes Joe Pitti, Jayceen Craven, Calvin Johnson, Teri Cowan and Chambers on vocals with Brent Fotheringham as pianist/musical director.
Light, buffet-style refreshments and beverages will be served throughout the afternoon. Food is being donated by American Grill, Catering by Design, the Park Cafe, Market Street Broiler, private caterer Ellen Furgis, and Pancho, Willy & Schwartz.
Admission is $35 per couple. Proceeds from the ticket sales and auctions will benefit the Utah AIDS Foundation, the only agency in the state dealing with the entire spectrum of services for those afflicted with HIV diseases. (See related story on this page.)
Tickets for the "Art for Life" event may be purchased in advance by calling the foundation at 359-5555.
Dane Traeden of Tivoli Gallery noted that artists, musicians and other participants in the fund-raiser have donated all of the items.
"It's the first time a similar function of this magnitude has been held in Salt Lake City," he said.
Wagner received her degree in art from Westminster and has participated in a number of juried, invitational and one-woman shows, including successful Chicago and Washington, D.C., exhibitions.
"This is a terrific cause," said Wagner, noting that artists in the community are concerned about social issues and have been positive about supporting the Utah AIDS Foundation event.
Both Wagner and Saint-Thomas have taken their "honorary co-chairmen" status seriously by rallying support from colleagues within the region's ranks of visual artists.
Saint-Thomas is an internationally acclaimed musician and artisan. He is a pianist, composer, painter, sculptor and jewelry designer. He usually gives two or three recitals each year, including at least one concert a year for the Temple Square Assembly Hall concert series. In July, he will perform for the opening of the new Jewett Center for the Performing Arts at Westminster College.
A native of Salt Lake City, Saint-Thomas studied piano and composition at the Conservatoire Nationale de Musique in Paris when he was 20 and later studied sculpture under the guidance of Avard Fairbanks. He lived for many years in Europe before returning to Utah about 15 years ago.
Saint-Thomas said he and his daughter, Stephanie (who designs jewelry pieces for Sak's Fifth Avenue), were visiting the Tivoli Gallery recently while working on some frames and he became aware of the excellent acoustics in the gallery's main-floor space.
Saint-Thomas and Chambers had first considered holding just a fund-raising recital, but the "Art for Life"project evolved into a full afternoon of performing and visual arts after the Tivoli Gallery donated its space.
"I have enjoyed playing in old churches and castles in Europe, with artworks all around, so this should be a pleasant, intimate experience," Saint-Thomas said. "There's no question that this is a great cause."
He noted that acoustics in the gallery are superb. The building, dating back to 1910, was originally the Rex Burlesque Theater. The ornate ceilings are still preserved today.
Wagner commented that the general public has a misconception when it comes to contributions of artworks for benefits and fund-raisers. "The Internal Revenue Service allows artists to deduct only the actual costs of materials used in creating the painting or sculpture, not what the work of art may be worth on the marketplace," she said.
Many people mistakenly believe that artists can deduct several hundred or even several thousand dollars - whatever the market value is - but this is not the case. However, if someone purchases a painting, then turns around and donates it, the price they paid for the work is an allowable deduction.
Traeden said he expects the Utah AIDS Foundation's "Art for Life" will become an annual event.
Other UAF fund-raising events scheduled this year include an evening of chamber music on Sunday, March 17, at 5 p.m., at the home of Ann Hankinson; a program of comedy and mime by Joe Pitti (date to be announced); one benefit night at Sundance Summer Theatre and another during the run of "Saturday's Voyeur" at Salt Lake Acting Company (Aug. 20); and the annual "Walk for Life" pledge walk, currently scheduled for Sept. 14.