Entertainment :: Theatre

Dallas Art Show Raises Funds for AIDS Interfaith Network

by Drew Jackson
Friday Jul 27, 2012
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On July 20, nearly 250 artists and Dallas patrons came together at the ilume GALLERIE for local artist Jeremy Michael Calhoun’s first art show, "Why Knot? The Art of the Bow Tie," a fundraiser event to benefit the AIDS Interfaith Network (AIN) and people living with HIV/AIDS.

"Our whole philosophy at ilume is to help other people and give back to the community," ilume GALLERIE Director and Artist in Residence Ron Radwanski told EDGE. It is Radwanski’s custom to bring one new artist into the gallery every season, to thank those who helped him along the way. He said that he enjoyed taking on the role of mentor and helping beginning artists.

Calhoun’s first collection consists of more than 40 original bowties created using mixed media including fabric, metal, wood, plastic, leather, rubber and even film. Novices, collectors and fashionistas alike admired Calhoun’s bold and adventurous collection, and within an hour and a half of the show opening, more than half of the bowties (ranging from $55-145) were sold.

"I’m so happy," said Calhoun amidst the comings and goings of the show’s opening night. He told EDGE he was working on a project a while back when he first used bowties as a theme.

"I just fell in love with them," he said. "The first bow tie I did was made using newspaper. I wanted to work with different materials, so I sat down and started designing the bowties. Once I started, I couldn’t stop."

This adorable, slim young man with boundless and contagious enthusiasm is described by his good friend Shelley as "laid back and generous; always smiling and happy." And Radwanski referred to Calhoun as "a doll," noting that he has studied fashion merchandising and design and his creations appeal not only to conservative suit types but also high fashion aficionados.

Randwanski remembered that when Calhoun approached him with his bowties, he thought they represented an element that was very unusual.

"No other gallery has presented such cutting-edge work. I told Jeremy that we would do the show and he would get to choose the charity," said Radwanski. "I knew there were a lot of unusual things we could do with this medium. Each bowtie has its own story."

"This is a great night for ilume GALLERIE and for AIN," said AIDS Interfaith Network Community Liaison Jolene Ford. "It’s a win-win for everybody."

Radwanski pointed out that these pieces of art are one-of-a-kind pieces that you can only buy in a gallery. You end up with a walking story.

"Is art the bowtie or is it the art of the bowtie?" Radwanski pondered. "They are a little bit sophisticated. They make you stand out. And they are fun."

Bowties date back to the 1600s, when Croatian mercenaries wore them during the Prussian wars of the 17th century. The French soon adopted the look. Bow ties have been associated with different professions, such as architects, attorneys, educators and politicians. In recent years, they have graduated to an art form. The artist’s adventurous and unique adaptations have a place for fashion aficionados and collectors alike. In fact, "unique" was the word most heard to describe Calhoun’s work.

"If you’re going to wear one, wear one like this. A tuxedo is just a tuxedo after all. It’s the tie that really makes it special," said two gentlemen, Michael and Terry, during the gallery opening.

Another local, Steve Smith, just happened to be walking by the gallery and popped in; he fancied the ties that had a more textural element.

"This is a great night for ilume GALLERIE and for AIN," said AIDS Interfaith Network Community Liaison Jolene Ford. "It’s a win-win for everybody." AIN has worked with Radwanski on previous events and both he and Calhoun were eager to tie the show together with AIN.

AIDS Interfaith Network works to prevent the spread of HIV and serves more than 2,000 men, women and youth living with HIV/AIDS, and reaches 10,000 at-risk individuals through outreach and prevention programs.

Radwanski and Calhoun will be collaborating with the Black Tie Committee by presenting a special show this September, with bowties featuring Swarovski crystals in limited editions; only five pieces of each design will be created.

"Why Knot: The Art of the Bowtie," runs through August 10 at ilume GALLERIE, 4123 Cedar Springs Road, #107 in Dallas. For more info, to purchase a bow tie, or to make a donation, visit www.ilumegallerie.com For additional info on AIN’s mission, visit www.aidsinterfaithnetwork.org.

Drew Jackson was born in Brooklyn and has been writing ever since he graduated from NYC. He now lives in Dallas happily married to his husband Hugh. Jackson is a familiar fixture on the Dallas Forth Worth theater scene and is currently working on his next play.

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