A Heavenly Affair at Harmony Motors

Art Affair


Thank you to all who supported us as OpenDoors of Asheville hosted its 6th annual Art Affair fundraiser on March 7th, inside the elegant showrooms of our presenting sponsor, Harmony Motors! The event, dubbed “Art Affair 2015: A Starry Night,” was a spectacular success, breaking all previous records for attendance and money raised (approaching $145,000). All proceeds generated from the gala event and art auction directly support initiatives to empower and enrich the lives of Asheville’s under-served youth. To add to the success, the modest expenses to produce the gala (totaling only 12% of total raised) were completely covered by our generous volunteers and corporate sponsors.

More than 450 people attended and enjoyed scrumptious food and drink entirely donated by a coalition of almost three dozen of Asheville’s finest restaurants, lounges, and breweries. Dozens of Art Affair volunteers worked tirelessly to plan, prepare, promote, and beautifully execute the gala in order to make the inspiring, fun-filled event possible.

The evening culminated with a thrilling live auction conducted by Andrew Brunk of Brunk Auctions, Antiques Road Show, and formerly of Christie’s of NYC. More than $75,000 was raised through auctioned items including handcrafted jewelry, exciting travel experiences, and exquisite local art contributed by more than 70 acclaimed artists. Plus another $25,000 in cash was donated to fund directly to the cause. The remainder of the funds came from ticket sales and sponsorship. Mission critical initiatives funded include specialized Orton-Gillingham teacher training and student tutoring; tuition to summer camps; food and other emergency support for families living in poverty; and funding of sports activities – including uniforms and equipment.

The generosity of our donors inspired spontaneous cheers from the auction audience and brought tears to the eyes of many. In all, Art Affair 2015 raised more than 50% more than last year’s event which had broken all previous records.

The night’s festivities also featured live chamber music and performances by an aerial dance troupe, colorfully costumed stilt walkers, and performances by professional magician, Brett Senor. During a special awards ceremony the OpenDoors Laureate of the Year Award for outstanding community service was presented to Asheville educator Elinor Earle, Founder of the Youthful HAND after-school program at Lee Walker Heights.

“When you invest in a child you strengthen a community,” said OpenDoors Executive Director Jennifer Ramming. “Art Affair 2015 will have a sustained, uplifting impact on the lives of hundreds of young people. Not only will they survive, but they will thrive and then complete the circle by giving back in their own positive and vital ways.”

Photography from the event was generously donated by Eric Howard and Michael Oppenheim.

Please share your feedback from the event and show your support for the generous community of donors who made this possible.