I have fond memories of a jam-packed Memphis College of Art with people crowding around and bidding on every size and shape of “valentine” imaginable.
That won’t be the scene this year. Fundraisers have gone the way of the dinosaur — at least for now. But you gotta have heart. So take heart. “Works of Heart” will take place, but this year’s event is virtual.
The Memphis Child Advocacy fundraiser, which will celebrate its 29th anniversary, will be held February 7th through 14th. It will feature heart-themed art by more than 100 artists. Bidders will go online to try to snag their heart’s delight.
Among the artists contributing work are Dolph Smith, NJ Woods, Quantavious Worship a.k.a. Toonky Berry, Veda Reed, and Alex Paulus.
“We knew the event was going on no matter what and the committee had a lot of discussion about what that was going to look like,” says Child Advocacy Center communications and grants manager Beryl Wight. “Even thought about postponing it. And we just settled on that we’re going to go head and do it virtually this year ‘cause it is a Valentine’s event.”
Artists are traditionally given a 12-inch wooden heart to use as their inspiration, but they don’t have to use it. Works in various shapes include painting, photography, jewelry, and mixed media.
This year’s event will feature the Big Heart Lounge, but it also will be virtual. Those who purchase a Big Heart Lounge ticket will receive exclusive admission to a live, virtual preview of the artwork hosted by Joe Birch from 6 to 7 p.m. on February 6th. They also will receive a valentine box that includes a bottle of wine and other goodies, a yard sign, an event T-shirt, and first bids on all artwork. Big Heart Lounge tickets are $200.
Last year’s event, which was held February 15th at Memphis College of Art, was one of the last big fundraisers before the COVID pandemic shut everything down. That event, which featured 111 hearts and drew 450 guests, was a huge success. They raised a record-breaking $98,000, Wight says.
Virginia Stallworth is executive director of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.
A Works of Heart link will be posted closer to the date, but those interested in purchasing tickets to the Big Heart Lounge or want other information can go to memphiscac.org/worksofheart.