The nonprofit OpenDoors of Asheville hosts its largest annual fundraiser, Art Affair, on Saturday, Feb. 25, at The Venue in downtown Asheville. The 13th annual event, themed “Kaleidoscope: Beauty Found,” attracts hundreds of donors to celebrate students while raising awareness and vital funds to eliminate race-based opportunity and achievement gaps within the local community. Many of WNC’s leading chefs and mixologists contribute delicious culinary arts and fabulous signature libations, while top-notch regional musicians and DJs provide live entertainment.
Proceeds from Art Affair directly support OpenDoors programs to move students “to and through” college with increased access to education, enrichment, and other critical resources. As OpenDoors of Asheville Executive Director Jen Ramming explains, “We firmly believe that equitable access to education and opportunity are the antidotes to generational poverty. We owe it to our community and all our children to support and celebrate the potential within each child, bringing talented but often overlooked young people forward into full view.”
Art Affair features both a live and a silent auction, with original works by approximately 60 artists — including paintings, handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, glass, woodworking, sculpture, photography, and mixed media. The event’s kaleidoscope theme highlights the brilliant, multifaceted gifts that each child has to offer — and artist Wendy Newman worked with some OpenDoors students to create kaleidoscopic designs incorporated into the event’s décor.
Rise Education and Arts Director David Kennedy collaborated with OpenDoors students on a creative “experience and presentation” of music, film, and other arts. “Building community and cultivating our students’ cultural capital are two important intended outcomes within our AVL Rise literacy and mentorship program,” explains Kennedy. “It has been beautiful to witness the various student relationships that have blossomed as a result.” Starting Jan. 15, the OpenDoors website will showcase images of auction items, as well as details about absentee and mobile bidding — which offer convenient alternatives for those who don’t attend the ticketed event.
To buy tickets for Art Affair and for more information on OpenDoors of Asheville, visit. The gala event is Saturday, Feb. 25, 7-11:30pm, at The Venue, 21 North Market St. in downtown Asheville.