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Creating Art, Having Fun, Doing Good
by Jerome Weeks 4 Dec 2009

North Texas is the land of splashy charity benefits. For a good cause, we’ll dress up and dance at any party. But in the past decade, homegrown benefits have sprouted up that have found local artists and musicians banding together to contribute their own work for charities.


collision smallClay Pendergrass with his band Vaqueros Electronicos

  • KERA radio story:
  • Expanded story online:

This weekend, Collision returns. The fundraiser is the three-year-old brainchild of Clint Scism. The Dallas illustrator and wire sculptor says it actually began as a solo show to benefit himself. He needed money for Christmas, but

SCISM: “I just didn’t have enough pieces, so I got together with a friend of mine, [photographer] Ange Fitzgerald. She and I decided to invite a couple more artists along and get some bands involved. Pretty soon we had a DJ, and then 500 people showed up. ”

Scism actually did very little to promote Collision, he says, outside of some MySpace references and a single article in a Dallas Observer column. But what started with only two artist-illustrators and two photographers will now see some 30 artists contributing more than 90 works to be sold during a concert with the Felons and the Happy Bullets at the Rorschach Gallery.  A portion of the sales of the artworks plus donations at the door will go to the organization, Arts Fighting Cancer.

Collision was hardly the first. Ten years ago, Live Draw started up as an annual fundraiser for Arts Fighting Cancer. A select group of artists, some of them nationally known, sketch nude models and sell their drawings right there during a party.

Then came Art Conspiracy, now five years old. It’s a larger, more boisterous benefit, akin to a giant piece of performance art. The group will take over an entire warehouse next Friday, December 11, and give artists 24 hours to produce new works. These will be auctioned off in between live bands such as Telegraph Canyon and the Boom Boom Box (hosted by Paul Slavens of KXT). Art Conspiracy has raised more than $50,000 for such groups as the St. Anthony Community Center.
Adam Carter of the Felons with an Ange Fitzgerald photo

North Texas is the land of splashy, society benefits. As long as it’s for a good cause, we’ll get dressed up and dance (and contribute) to just about any party.

What distinguishes these benefits – why one of them is called Collision and another Art Conspiracy – is that artists and musicians work together. They organize an event that combines a gallery opening with a music concert. And with Live Draw and Art Conspiracy, original artworks even get created.

SCISM: “I know most of the artists want to sell their art and get exposure. But really, if you’re an artist, you end up being part philanthropist anyway, so I don’t see the two as being separate.”

All photographs by Ange Fitzgerald.

Note from Anne Bothwell:

In addition to Collision, there are lots of opportunities  to do good – and take care of gift season or start that art collection. Here are a couple more to check out. And, if we missed you, let us know, so we can let everyone else know.

Holiday Presence tonight at Kettle Art Gallery offers affordable works by local artists for all your holiday shopping needs.

Blue Yule! Saturday features Christmas ornaments made by local artists and auctioned off to benefit the McKinney Ave. Contemporary.

The Art Pop-Up Shop Art Auction happens Thursday, offers art and jewelry and some proceeds benefit Fashion Benefiting Youth Artists Art Supply Fund and the non-profit organization The Backpack Foundation which makes sure students at Eliza M. Pease Elementary School in DISD have school supplies.

  • Really enjoyed this on KERA this morning. Cool people, events, well covered. Art Con 5, next weekend on the 12th, coolest event of the year