Clean Water for Everyone: Local Artists Step In To Raise Dividends

Luis Gutierrez is a firm believer that art is transformational. (He should know, considering that the central Phoenix painter, who is living with multiple sclerosis, finds catharsis in art-making.) That's why he decided to become personally involved in the Clean Water for Everyone art auction.

Here's the scoop: Gutierrez's girlfriend, Anna June Wilks, works for Aveda. Every year in April, the beauty-products company tips its hat to Earth Month by raising dough for a non-profit. Over the past five years, the campaign has been all about increasing awareness and funds for water purity.

Gutierrez, never content to sit on the sidelines, decided to get involved this year. He and longtime downtowner Kathy Cone asked local artists to donate pieces for a silent art auction, which is scheduled for this weekend. The raised funds will go to Western Resource Advocates (WRA), a water-conservation biz based in Colorado.

Says Gutierrez, "I've seen art raise $20,000 for autism awareness, and I've seen it save a man's life by giving him a double-lung transplant. Art can do something." (By the way, the guy with the double-lung operation is Rich Zandlo, who some may remember from last year's Facebook campaign that was spearheaded by Cone.)

The silent auction - scheduled to take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, April 30, at Bragg's Pie Factory, 1301 Grand Avenue - will showcase art for sale, wine, a DJ, free massages, and Aveda employees mixing scent oils. Afterwards, some folks plan on heading to Bikini Lounge, 1502 Grand Avenue, to do some late-night drinking.

According to Gutierrez, expect some formality in the first half of the event and a party towards the latter half. "[The art auction] is one of those things that you can bring money and/or show up and have a good time," he says. "It's beyond money. It's about bringing to the forefront that water is really scarce. As the Earth heats up, we're going to be in trouble."

Golly. Let's hope it's not like Soylent Green anytime soon.

For more information, check out the event page on Facebook.

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Steve Jansen
Contact: Steve Jansen