Art show to draw donations for AIDS group

Artists who work in a variety of media will come together next weekend for a show that will display their work, as well as the work of a local HIV/AIDS service organization.

Multimedia art show “What the Water Gave Me” will run from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Jan. 24 at The Fortress of the Arts, 221 W. Glenwood Ave.

Attendees are encouraged to bring toiletries and other personal-care items to the event that will be donated to Calcutta House, which provides housing and care for local individuals struggling with HIV/AIDS.

Tyler School of Art senior Jason Lutz, 21, began organizing the show several months ago as a means of presenting the work of a broad range of artists to a community that may not necessarily frequent galleries or museums but can still appreciate the quality of the pieces.

“The space where we’re holding it is really great, it’s not pretentious at all,” Lutz said. “I wanted this to be a great community kind of thing.”

“What the Water Gave Me” features the works of 25 artists who hail from Philadelphia to New York to Virginia. Lutz said he garnered interest from the participants mostly through word-of-mouth and by utilizing social-media Web sites like Facebook and MySpace.

Lutz said the water theme will be woven throughout the works, as “water is such a basic element.”

Although he said he did not intend on connecting the show with bisexual painter Frida Kahlo’s work of the same name, the two are similar.

“Both the painting and the show are about having reverence for water,” he said. “It’s about keeping in mind that we owe our lives to it.”

Lutz said the show will feature numerous styles.

“It’s a multimedia exhibition, so we’ll have painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers, video artists, a whole slew of people.”

In addition to the artwork on view, participants can also enjoy the sounds of alternative New York-based band Britney Boras and the Calvary as well as locals Ugh, God and DJ Gerrone.

From 7-10 p.m., participants can share their own material during an open-mic segment. Jen Paul, 22, who is openly gay, will perform a self-written song during the open-mic portion of the night.

“I thought it would be cool to play a song in front of people who are there for art and music,” she said. “I think anyone — no matter who they are, artsy or not — can find something interesting to see at an art show. I would encourage people to come just to have an opportunity to see something they’ve probably never seen before, which is always exciting.”

Lutz said that, after he expressed he wanted the event to benefit a local organization, representatives of The Fortress suggested Calcutta House as a potential beneficiary.

“Jason got our name from Fortress and he reached out to us,” said Heather Osborne, director of development and communications at Calcutta House. “We’re always happy when people reach out to us, because we can pretty easily tell them what our residents’ needs are.”

Calcutta House is requesting toiletries such as unscented soaps and shampoos, deodorants and shaving cream, which will be given directly to the residents.

Lutz also initiated a partnership with Pabst Blue Ribbon, which will provide free beverages during the event.

Lutz said this was the first time he’s organized a show on his own and that, while there have been “ups and downs,” he’s eager to have the local community see the result.

“This is going to be a great event and a great way for people to indulge themselves in the arts.”

There is a $5 donation requested for admission. For more information, visit or contact Lutz at [email protected].

Jen Colletta can be reached at [email protected].