On July 10, 2014 about 400 people turned out to walk the red carpet for the opening reception of the Evolve art show at Art Share LA in Downtown Los Angeles featuring over 25 photographers, ceramists and artists.
It was far more than what I could have imagined it would be. From the time I taped down the red carpet before our 6pm opening, it was as if that somehow signalled it was time to start. People just kept arriving all night long. I was so blown away
The show featured artists from every ethnic and economic background as well as people living with HIV, a homeless person - , gay, lesbian, transgender and straight. From corporate executives to entrepreneurs to single mothers, fathers and full families, Evolve was truly a real representation of what Los Angeles looks like and just how alive, well and richly cultured and unique the art scene is here in Los Angeles.
The event was a celebration of the community work created by Kengi over seven years ago while homeless here in Los Angeles. Project KengiKat/Do Something Saturday started as homeless outreach but now reaches low income families, seniors, children and people living with HIV and AIDS. Through support from Kengi’s friends, Do Something Saturday events have taken place in several different countries as well as several different states and many cities throughout California.
Photographer Don Heffern II said “I can't begin to express how much I enjoyed Evolve” he went on to say “Some stunning work on display and I enjoyed it all! Every person I met was as kind and friendly as they were talented.”
Artists Allegra Newman was the first artist to have one of her pieces purchased “I love coming to an art show and finding out that one of my pieces already sold. I will always be part of Kengi’s shows.”
Artists Denny Howard, Lyle Everett Rushing and Nicole Palmquist (Booleep) all completed new pieces for the Evolve show alongside Lego mosaics pieces created especially for the show by Andy Bauch who also created a tribute piece of Ricky the Pirate.
“This show has reminded us of our charter” said Terry Ellsworth and Executive Director of Art Share LA, Cheyanne Sauter said “this show represents what Art Share LA is.”
Originally this was supposed to be a joint effort between my organization and an HIV Service Organization; however they were unable to keep their end of the bargain, so I made the choice to eliminate them and move forward. In the end it was for the best because of the HIV positive artists involved in the show they did not want to be part of an HIV-driven show.
To say that the night was magical is a huge understatement. People are still talking about the show and just how successful is was. Each day I log onto Facebook I see more awesome posts and spectacular pictures of the event.
Moreover, I’m super excited that the show was so successful it has been held over until July 26th. Which for me demonstrates that we must find new ways and explore new and bold ideas about how we encourage people living with HIV to move past their diagnosis and move forward with their life. In addition we must begin to explore ways to educate and foster unity for the general public.
Hearing conversations throughout the night of people saying “I need to get tested” and “It’s time for me to test again” were very encouraging to me, but the sweet crème on the cake was having people ask me where they could get tested and if they tested positive could they call on me for support.
Evolve is just the beginning