by Jessica Carreras
The Michigan AIDS Coalition has the blues – denim, that is.
On April 25 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, they’ll host their first-ever Design for Life event, which will showcase 100 pieces of art and clothing made from denim Carhartt jackets and offer them up for auction.
“We asked 100 people to use the jacket as raw material for anything they wanted to make,” explained MAC Development Director Heidi Lovy.
“Some people took the jacket and turned them into other articles of clothing, like a pair of shorts and some handbags, a laptop bag, a pillow. Someone covered an amazing mid-century modern chair in denim. We have some sculptural pieces. It’s almost everything you could think of.
“People were very, very creative.”
All that creativity – from decorated jackets to a sculpture of a fish cleverly titled “Carphartt” – will be up for auction at the event, beginning with a silent auction throughout the night and a live auction later on. All proceeds will go to benefit MAC, which is the product of a merger between the Michigan AIDS Fund and the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project that took place earlier this year.
Though this will be the first Design for Life event, Lovy said it was a logical addition to their annual Artworks for Life event, which auctions off 300 pieces of art each year to support the organization’s programming. “There’s sort of a natural relationship with our agency and the arts or the creative folks in our area and in our state,” said Lovy. “So we were trying to think of something that might be a little more streamlined, a little bit smaller.”
The denim designers include both local and national artists, some from as far as New York City and Los Angeles. Besides artists, the contributors range from companies to fashion designers to stylists, including such contributors as Glenn Barr, Robert Stanzler and even a team from the shoe sales Web site Zappos.com. “We’ve gotten a really positive response from just about everybody that we’ve asked to participate,” Lovy said. “It’s very exciting.”
Also exciting are the entertainers for the night.
DJ group DethLab will provide music for the event, while Detroit Flyhouse, an acrobatic and dance group, will dazzle the audience with their one-of-a-kind show. “They do aerial yoga and dance. They’ll be hanging from scarves from the rafters,” explained Lovy. “It’s quite elaborate.”
Design for Life will be hosted by Ongina, a former cast member of the hit reality show “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.” Ongina will also serve as the auctioneer for the live auction, which happens at 9:30 p.m. Lovy said Ongina was a perfect fit for the event, as she actually revealed that she has HIV while on Ru Paul’s show.
But beyond entertainment and art, the best part about the event, said Lovy, is that it changes every year. While this year’s event, with jackets donated by Carhartt, featured pieces made out of denim, next year could be silk or wood. Every year, the event will consist of pieces made from a different medium.
While this year’s pieces will not be up for auction until the night of the event at the MOCAD, eager attendees can view them now on the Facebook event. They can also catch a sneak peak at 7-10 p.m. April 17 at Ferndale’s newest billiards hall, Loving Touch.
Design for Life: Denim
7 p.m. April 25
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit