Art Auction Raises Over $180,000 for AIDS Project Los Angeles
Celebrities and art lovers gathered tonight for Art Project Los Angeles – the third annual red-carpet art auction and gala event benefiting AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA). The event raised over $180,000 for APLA, which provides direct care services and HIV prevention programs to more than 11,000 Angelenos.
The evening began with a slew of celebrity guest arrivals on the "red" carpet, which was actually a grassy trail that served as the first introduction to the "California" theme of the evening. Celebrity guests included Sufe Bradshaw (Veep), Richard Grieco (21 Jump Street / Booker), Kathy Griffin, ROBERT HERJAVEC (Shark Tank), Alex Lombard (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Alfred Molina (Chocolat, Raiders of the Lost Ark), Mark Ordesky (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Judy Tenuta, and Marni Wing.
The event space itself was transformed into a celebration of life and art in California, complete with palm trees, beach balls, and floral arrangements accented with California oranges. Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as they took in the abundance of artwork that covered the walls of Bonhams, where the gala was held. More than 180 pieces of art were donated to, and featured in, the silent auction from a range of media including photography, ceramics, oil paints, mixed media, and more.
The night picked up speed as the bidding wars began during the live auction. Guests jumped at the chance to bid on works by Haring, Picasso, Ruscha, Warhol, and a number of additional notable artists. Among the most sought-after items was an acrylic painting, titled "King Tut," created by artist Raul Alonso. Alonso is an APLA client and has been living with HIV and AIDS since 1991. He briefly addressed the audience before his work was auctioned, attesting to the importance of APLA's client services, on which Alonso relies.
"My AIDS diagnosis brought me to the brink of death," Alonso told the crowd of 300 live auction bidders, "but APLA brought me back." His piece then ignited a bidding war, eventually selling for nearly $1,000.
Tonight's winning bidders will gather at Bonhams tomorrow morning to enjoy breakfast – and to pick up the art that they won. Proceeds benefit APLA, one of the nation's largest AIDS service organizations, which relies heavily on private support to operate a range of HIV care, prevention, testing, and advocacy programs.