Telluride AIDS Benefit art auction: starts Friday at noon at Opera House

Telluride AIDS Benefit art auction: starts Friday at noon at Opera House

MD painting with signatures Telluride local Baerbel Hacke knows only one way to go and that's BIG.

It is Baerbel's big personality that brings second homeowners to the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, where she is director, to find out what's happening in town. Baerbel sings big with her all-woman rock group, The 525s. When she turned 60 last month, she threw herself one big party, packing the historic Sheridan Opera House with family and friends, some of whom came all the way from Baerbel's native Germany to celebrate.

On Friday, March 4, Baerbel returns to the Opera House to host the silent art auction she puts together annually for the Telluride AIDS Benefit. The idea is to raise lots of money so that TAB can continue to support five other non-profits from Colorado to Africa, all of whom work on prevention educations and helping individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. The event starts at noon. The bidding ends at 9 p.m. (And while you are at the Opera House, don't miss the work in the downstairs gallery. It is produced by families and kids affiliated with the Children's Immunodeficiency Program or CHIP, based at the Denver Children's Hospital. CHIP is one of TAB's beneficiaries.)

Brass & copper utensils Last year, the Telluride AIDS Benefit was able to raise $150,000 from a combination of private donations and the proceeds from the gala fashion and Baerbel's auction, which once again is BIG: this year over 70 artists, among them Baerbel's friends and contacts in Germany, donated  paintings, drawings, photographs, fabric art, jewelry, functional art, including furniture, and other personal and home furnishings accessories to the cause.

Steel & walnut chairs Since the "virus" was announced in the U.S. in April 1984, AIDS has served as an insistent muse for artists of every stripe. Art about AIDS or in support of AIDS causes is as varied as its many creators, but generally it springs from a very personal place. Many of the artists donating to Baerbel's auction have done so generously from her very first art event for TAB 17 years ago. Whatever form it takes, however, is always a victory for the transformative powers of the imagination to turn devastation into hope.

Since 1994, art has played a major role in the Telluride AIDS Benefit because the event's muse, Robert Presley, was a walking, talking sartorial hyperbole, a fabric artist who created over-the-top costumes and whimsical fiber art. Baerbel's auction for the Telluride AIDS Benefit turns pain into gain.

"This is an auction where everyone can be a winner. Despite the real value of the pieces, the artists allow us to start the bidding low so that every item finds a home," said Baerbel. The fact on the table is this: every piece donated to the TAB silent auction since the Benefit's inception has sold. Let's keep that winning streak going this year."

Credits: TAB 1998 , painting by MD on canvas, signed by “all” that year; Serving utensils, brass and copper by Jill Rikkers (Ridgway); 2 in 1,  walnut, steel chairs by Ben Preece (Telluride)


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