Art should be a process of give and take.
So says Jason Zacharias, director of the OpticalReverb Art Gallery. "I'm just trying to associate artwork with good works," he said. "That's a new concept for some people."
Zacharias, in connection with ABBA Arts Alive, will host a charity art auction to benefit the medically uninsured of the community through the Penrose-St. Francis Health Foundation Patient Assistant Fund. The event will take place Saturday, Oct. 2, at the newly opened OpticalReverb Art Gallery, inside Cedars Jazz Club on Sinton Road.
A year ago, Zacharias opened his online art gallery at www.opticalreverb.com as a means to provide free exposure for artists. Through a shared love of art, he met Victor Matthews, the owner of Paragon Culinary School and Cedars Jazz Club. They subsequently worked together to come up with a way to make opticalreverb.com a physical reality.
As a result, they have approximately 5,000 square feet of space to provide a haven for art lovers. The jazz club is described as "looking sort of like a speakeasy, like an underground martini bar." It features perfectly low lighting that sets the mood and highlights the brown leather couches and red velvet fabric covering some of the walls. Across the room, the main hall where most of the art is showcased is appropriately well lit, but manages to maintain the cozy atmosphere.
This, however, is a philanthropist's speakeasy. Zacharias, who a year ago moved to the area via Kansas City, Mo., became aware of Penrose-St. Francis Hospital's efforts to provide financial counseling and care to those without medical insurance. "In Kansas City, I was familiar with poverty and people having to go uninsured," he said. "The same thing is going on here, of course, but just on a different scale."
Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from the upcoming auction will go to Penrose Hospital. A portion will also go to the artists, who try to drop the prices on their artwork as much as possible. Zacharias figures that there will be approximately $1 million worth of artwork appearing in the show, with prices ranging from $10 to $65,000.
Renowned artists both local and international will be represented, and many of them will be on hand at the event. Among the artists represented are Louis Stephenson, Keith Ladzinski, Heidi Moore, Marc Huebert, and Lori Vafiades, along with many others.
Two five-star chefs, Matthews and Jason Miller, will prepare complimentary hors d'oeuvres to accompany wine from winemaker Angelo Gaja. To round out the evening, cellist Julie Goldstein will perform. Befitting a benefit show, the affair is to be rather swank, so formal attire is expected.
The auction also marks the opening debut of the physical gallery. Zacharias expects to continue doing two shows a month, with most proceeds going back into the community. "I'm less nervous about the artwork, because I know the art is amazing," he said. "Everyone is coming together and caring about the community. My fear is that we don't do a proper job getting the word out and reaching enough people."
-- Kara Luger
capsule Charity Art Auction
Saturday, Oct. 2
OpticalReverb Art Gallery (inside Cedars Jazz Club)
3125 Sinton Road