Derived from the inspirational mind of founder Will Pollock, ARTvision launched in 2006 in honor of his late aunt, Betsy Weedon. A philanthropic leader in San Francisco’s Bay Area for more than 40 years, Wheedon lost her fight with cancer in April 2006.
“I started ARTvision at a particularly challenging point in my life. I wanted to do something to give back after seeing great showings of generosity to me (gifts of wine, mostly) at my annual New Year’s Eve party,” Pollock says. “I wanted to channel that positive energy into something bigger and better.”
ARTvision — “Artists Reaching Through” — is a yearly fundraiser which consists of an online art show lasting the duration of December with a New Year’s Eve grand finale hosted by the founder.
In its first year, a few artists came together and raised around $1,500 for the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, a favorite of Aunt Betsy.
The following year, nearly $3,000 was raised to help support the AIDS Survival Project.
In 2008, ARTvision organizers selected Positive Impact as recipient of the funds and has kept the agency as their sole beneficiary.
Positive Impact, founded in 1992, provides mental health care and other services for those impacted by HIV. The agency helped serve 135 clients in 1993; in 2010, it will help serve more than 3,900. This organization is the only one of its kind in the United States.
“Positive Impact represents some of the best of Atlanta’s HIV support services,” Pollack says. “This is clearly evident in the enthusiasm of ARTvision’s artists who have generously donated their talent, and buyers who have returned that gesture with considerable generosity of their own. I’m proud of the great work we’ve done together and all that’s to follow in the future.”
Five years later and still running strong, ARTvision has raised nearly $15,000 in charitable funds and 100 percent of that has been given as donations.
“I’m deeply proud and humbled by the generosity of our artists, who give of their talent with the sole purpose of raising money and giving back,” Pollock says.
Pollock expects to “notch past” the $20,000 mark this year since they have already earned more than $1,000 in preview sales before the art show went officially live on Dec. 1, marking World AIDS Day.
The two pieces sold prior to the ARTvision website going live included “Watching, Dreaming, Waiting” by Brenda Knosher and “Watch Out for Those Spurs!” painted by Pollock’s mother and Aunt Betsy’s sister, Mary Pollock.
The featured art in 2010 is a diverse collection including photography, paintings, mixed-media, music, books, pottery and other gifts.
The headline piece for ARTvision this year is “In the Moment” by Delia Cochran. Many other renowned artists have contributed their work; even Pollock himself has his piece “Teal Treasure” up for grabs.
Pollock will again open his home on New Year’s Eve for his annual ARTVision & Gourmet Pizza Extravaganza, an opportunity for buyers to see the art in person.
Donations are the vital force to help keep this important project alive. For every $100 ARTvision receives, Positive Impact is able to provide three hours of mental health counseling for individuals affected by HIV.
“It is wonderful to have such a committed partnership with Will Pollock and the amazing artists that he brings together,” adds Michael Baker, Positive Impact director of advancement.
“Will’s aunt would be so proud of the positive impact he is making in our community. I am personally thankful to every artist, to every donor and to our friend Will for the support year after year,” Baker says. “Every agency needs events to raise those crucial ‘unencumbered’ funds, and ARTvision is one of my favorite events to do just that year after year.”
A live show, “ARTvision Live: In Person & Out Loud”, which celebrates five years of the event, is currently in the works with a tentative timeline of July 2011.
“We have had difficulty finding an appropriate venue,” Pollock says. “We have lots of willing participants, from comedians to musicians to local public figures, but no home yet.”
Top photo: ARTvision founder Will Pollock contributed the piece ‘Teal Dream’ to this year’s art sale. ARTvision officially launced Dec. 1 to coincide with World AIDS Day and continues online throughout the month. (Courtesy Pollock)