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For nearly a quarter of a century, ArtWorks Detroit has served as one of the city’s most prominent art auction fundraisers. And this year is proving no different. Hosted by Matrix Human services, the auction is slated to repeat for the 23rd time. This year, the event will change locations and will be held at Wasserman Projects in the Eastern Market District on Thursday, Sept. 13, and will feature the work of over 100 local artists. Kerrie Mitchell is the vice president of marketing and development at Matrix Human Services and she said she is excited not only about the various works of art to be featured, but the addition of new auction items.
“We’ll have about 125 unique pieces, and then new this year we are trying out experience packages,” Mitchell said. “We have a new destination package where you can go to about seven different places in Mexico. So, we’ll be auctioning that off as well as a trip to Las Vegas through MGM Casino.”
Mitchell added that all proceeds from the auction will benefit Matrix Human Services, which offers a variety of programs like HIV/STD prevention programs and a community-based family center in the city.
“Our biggest program is early education. We run the largest head start program in the city of Detroit, which is for 0 to 5-year-olds. The great thing about that program is that after we educate the children in the classroom, we have family advocates which are a lot like counselors to work with the families to set goals,” Mitchell said. “We also have team mentoring and counseling programs. We have some in Detroit Public schools, but we also do a lot after school. We do counseling, we do mentoring, we serve at-risk youth.”
Some of the featured artists this year will be fresco artist Hubert Massey, urban artist Kyle “RISE” Irving, Photographer Laurie Tennent and fine artist Carl Demeulenaere. Demeulenaere is one of the original co-founders of the event, and he said he is proud to be contributing a unique acrylic velvet box along with a hand-folded paper star. He has been a contributor and member of the ArtWorks team for its entire existence.
“We devised an auction event and we teamed up with — it no longer exists — but we teamed up with a nonprofit organization Geared for Life, GFL,” Demeulenaere said. “(The event) was then called ArtWorks For Life and we held our first auction in August of that year.”
The original event was sponsored by the Midwestern AIDS Prevention Project and according to Demeulenaere, “it had hundreds of people offering their artwork, and I called well over 100 (to participate).”
As this year organizers are excited to keep it just as well-attended as it was at its outset. Mitchell said that that spirit of togetherness is exactly what she loves about the annual auction.
“I love that everyone comes together to support those who we serve here at Matrix Human Services,” she said. “We’re excited about this year. We think think that those new items are really going to bring in new revenue for us, which, in turn, is going to make us able to support more people in Detroit.”
The event will be located at 3434 Russel St., #502, Detroit. For more information on attending the auction and how to donate, visit matrixhumanservices.org.