Starving Artist 2016 — Chicago Artists Coalition’s Annual Benefit commenced this year on Thursday, April 14, 2016 with a VIP reception at the Coalition’s gallery in the West Loop. As the guests were arriving and were greeted by the CAC Host Committee, it was clear that many knew each other well, and maintained this event as their annual tradition. And no wonder, the atmosphere was laid-back, informal and friendly, fitting with the non-profit’s mission that from its inception sought to create a better environment and future for the local artistic community. Guests mingled, sipping on cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by Lula Café chef and owner Jason Hammel, while catching up with each others’ achievements, stories, and plans for the future. Hosted by Christie’s, a live auction also happened, featuring a brand-new piece of work by famed Chicago artist Hebru Brantley, who was present during the event. Later in the evening, everybody proceeded to walk around the corner to VenueOne, where the benefit kicked into high gear, with about 500 guests arriving.
The design of VenueOne is indeed pretty unique, by artist Tori Terzakis, and immersive artistic experiences created by Leonard Suryajaya, with two levels, creating the spacial effect that is usually not achieved when a venue is just plain flat, and in a crowd, it would be more difficult to see anything other than the close surroundings. In contrast, here one could oversee the big part of the space from any spot. And to be sure, nobody actually went hungry during the evening, as the event was catered by several well-known restaurants with some of the city’s top chefs. These included Evan Behmer of Mercat a la Planxa, Michael Coté of Balena, Shawn Doolin of Venue One, Nathan Sears of The Radler and a noted chef from Piccolo Sogno, in addition to quite a few others. Another, online auction was held live during this part of the evening, hosted by Paddle 8, featuring the pieces by CAC resident artists and friends of CAC. The organizers note, that for the fourth year, a portion of ticket sales will fund CAC’s annual MAKER Grant, unrestricted $3000 and $1000 funds that recognize two exceptional artists and support the advancement of their artistic careers. Proceeds raised at Starving Artist for the grant will also be matched by artist-run design collaborative OtherPeoplesPixels. Head of retail at Google Ted Souder and Midwest Managing Director at Christie’s Lisa Cavanaugh served as the 2016 Starving Artist Co-Chairs.
The festivities were accompanied by the Environmental Encroachment band, with pipes, drums, funky costumes, contributing greatly to the overall atmosphere of the evening. «We are thrilled to welcome the return of one of the most anticipated events in Chicago’s art community,” remarked Executive Director Caroline Older.
Soon after the CAC benefit, and by way of building momentum, one of the notable sponsors of the event, EXPO CHICAGO, celebrated the launch of Issue 02 of the free full-color journal THE SEEN. This festive event, held at the «faux vintage» Pump Room of the Public Chicago hotel, gathered supporters of contemporary art to mark the Issue, that will continue to feature exclusive pieces and new commissions, in preparation to the big art fair that now happens annually, at the Navy Pier, toward the end of September. Dj Pluto was at the controls. More information at the web site; plan attendance on 22-25 September 2016. expochicago.com
S Telis, L Mogul for Kontinent Media