Artists come together to support Chattanooga CARES

Sally Light Foot Crab by Barry K. Snyder
photo Another Time Another Place by Miki Boni

If you go

What: Arts for CARES gala benefiting Chattanooga CARESWhen: Oct. 13, 7-10 p.m.Where: AVA, 30 Frazier Ave.More info: Contact Ward at or call AVA at 423-265-4282.

photo Emmy Award-winning actor Lelie Jordan is the emcee for the Arts for CARES gala.

The arts community of Chattanooga is once again coming together in support of Chattanooga Council on AIDS, Resources, Education and Support (CARES), a nonprofit organization offering support and assistance to local people living with HIV, Hepatitis C or other sexually transmitted infections.

On Oct. 13, the recently renovated Association for Visual Arts space is hosting the first Arts for CARES gala, featuring works donated for the event by local artists such as Barry K. Snyder, Caitlin Dickens, Miki Boni and Judith Paul.

The event is similar - though on a much smaller scale - to the arts fundraisers held for the organization in the '90s, says Mitzi Ward, development and events coordinator for Chattanooga CARES. The gala, for which 100 tickets are being sold, is replacing the organization's Cut Up for Life fundraiser that has been held at the Chattanooga Market since 1996.

"We wanted to go back more to what's been done in the past," says Daniel Ledo, chairman of Chattanooga CARES' board of directors and co-chairman of Arts for CARES.

"People in the arts community are such a giving group of people; we reached out and once again they came to our aid," Ward adds.

Chattanooga's Leslie Jordan, who is perhaps best known for his Emmy-winning role of Beverley Leslie on the TV show Will and Grace, will serve as the event's emcee. Attendees can sample heavy hors d'oeuvres washed down with drinks from the open bar as they take part in live and silent auctions and enjoy performances by local musicians and Ballet Tennessee. The event also features a presentation of the play The Yellow Boat, about a man with hemophilia who uses art to cope with HIV, which he contracts after multiple blood transfusions.

"It's a wonderful event to celebrate Chattanooga CARES and the arts, and an opportunity to support an organization doing so much good in the community," says Ledo.

The money raised through Arts for CARES will support Chattanooga CARES' client services such as vision and dental care, behavioral health care, full medical case management, a new clinic treating Hepatitis C and other STIs, and assistance with insurance, rent and utilities, he says.

photo This World and Beyond by Caitlin Dickens