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Creativity, cuisine for a good cause

By | 2018-01-15T17:10:41-05:00 September 15th, 2011|News|

By Tara Cavanaugh

This year’s largest fundraiser for the Michigan AIDS Coalition promises glitz, glamour and rooms full of art – literally.
For a second year, MAC is teaming up with Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS to present Dining by Design on Sept. 22-24 at Willy’s Overland Lofts in Detroit.
With the support of DIFFA and both national and local sponsors, 30 designers, artists and architects have created unique rooms that provide a spectacular backdrop for a series of fundraising events for MAC – parties, auctions, a fashion show, a formal gala and a public viewing.
Some of the designers spend as long as six months creating their installments, said Helen Hicks, MAC’s executive director. The installments, which range from dreamy to classy to whimsical, only have one thing in common: they must be able to seat ten people. “Everything else is up for grabs,” Hicks said.
At last year’s event, designer Yuen Hom made a room almost entirely out of cardboard. “Some of these artists and designers are so talented, they could pretty much make anything out of anything,” Hicks said.
Sponsors donate thousands of dollars for a single installment – some, such as FIAT, even donate enough for a double installment – and are able to sit and eat in the functional rooms of art during Saturday’s gala.
The Saturday night gala also features AIDS Foundation of Chicago Vice President David Munar, who will deliver a short address before dinner about the importance of prevention. “The HIV/AIDS incidence has actually risen,” Hicks said. “People are living longer because of much better drugs. But it’s all about prevention – if we could get the word out about prevention then people would not become infected.”
Last year’s Dining by Design raised $50,000 for MAC. “For a first-year event, we were pretty excited about that, and especially in this very challenging economic environment,” Hicks said. “Things haven’t improved a whole lot since last year, so we’re hoping to make a little bit more.” This time, MAC is aiming for $60,000 to $70,000.
Last year’s cocktail party alone attracted more than 1,000 attendees, and Hicks expects the same kind of turnout this year.
DIFFA, which was formed in 1984, has raised more than $40 million for AIDS organizations nationwide by pairing up national sponsors with state organizations. DIFFA also holds Dining by Design events in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, New York City and Kansas City. To learn more about DIFFA, go online to

Don’t miss Dining by Design 2011

Thursday, Sept. 22
6 p.m. – midnight
Tickets: $100
Featuring unlimited wine, Effen Vodka, auction of more than 150 original pieces of art, auction of 100 items valued at $100 or more, contortionist artists, a DJ
Public viewing
Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24
Noon – 5 p.m. (Friday)
11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Saturday)
Tickets: $10 at the door, students with valid ID free
Friday, Sept. 23
6 p.m. – midnight
Tickets: $10 at the door
Featuring a party for young adults, DJ
Saturday, Sept. 24
6 p.m. – midnight
Tickets: $250
Featuring an elegant black-tie evening; sponsors dine at the tables in the installments, view a fashion show and AIDS Foundation of Chicago Vice President David Munar as the speaker, bid at an auction. Host of the Style Channel’s “Clean House” Joel Steingold, local celebrities and TV personalities will attend. Appetizers and dinner provided by the Matt Prentice Restaurant Group.
After party
Saturday Sept. 24
11 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Featuring free admission to the after party at The Whitney’s outdoor garden. Complimentary shuttle service from the lofts to the party will be provided. The after party will have hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and DJ Jim Stone.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.