"Works of Heart" Moves Online This Year

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Among the artists in "Works of Heart" is Alex Paulus, who contributed his "Just Out of Sniffing Range," an acrylic on wood.
  • Among the artists in "Works of Heart" is Alex Paulus, who contributed his "Just Out of Sniffing Range," an acrylic on wood.

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.

For John McIntire's "Cave Stone," the artist traded a banjo for the stone, found in Middle Tennessee, that was transformed into this beautiful sculpture.
  • For John McIntire's "Cave Stone," the artist traded a banjo for the stone, found in Middle Tennessee, that was transformed into this beautiful sculpture.

“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.

Napapon Santirojprapai (aka Pam Santi) shows "Zen Heart," a wooden heart with wire and acrylic paint.
  • Napapon Santirojprapai (aka Pam Santi) shows "Zen Heart," a wooden heart with wire and acrylic paint.
Ken Woodmansee's "Funnel of Love" is, in the artist's own words, “A reminder of the power of love, especially during times of chaos, crisis, and uncertainty."
  • Ken Woodmansee's "Funnel of Love" is, in the artist's own words, “A reminder of the power of love, especially during times of chaos, crisis, and uncertainty."
Connie Hendrix's "Suppression" is about the many forms of suppression experienced during the historical year of 2020.
  • Connie Hendrix's "Suppression" is about the many forms of suppression experienced during the historical year of 2020.
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  • David Simmons "Hendrix: Star Spangled Banner" is No. 18 in a series represents a “salute to democracy.” It recalls the definitive rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as performed by Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock in 1969 — a “powerful dawn to anew day in America.”

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