Better Makers: Art for Life Chicago Raises $110,000 for HIV/AIDS Education and Organizations

Since 1984, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) has donated more than $45 million to service agencies nationwide that are committed to providing resources and education to those living with AIDS or at risk for infection.

On Thursday, Oct. 24, DIFFA/Chicago hosted their signature event, Art for Life Chicago, at Venue West. They raised $110,000 through auction in support of HIV/AIDS education and local service organizations in the Chicago area. Art for Life Chicago joins other Art for Life benefits nationwide and abroad with a common goal to improve the lives of those affected by serious illness.

Art for Life, pieces auctioned off throughout the evening
Pieces of artwork that were auctioned off during the live auction.
Artists from left to right: Nikko Washington, CJ Hungerman, Kieran McGonnell.

Throughout the evening, guests were able to partake in silent and live auctions of more than 80 pieces of art donated by artists and collectors for the event. The pieces, ranging from paintings to mixed media works, were hand-selected by a jury of industry luminaries. Participating artists included well-known creatives like Nikko Washington, Gail Mancuso, and CJ Hungerman.

“Each year, we are proud to showcase the artwork of extremely talented artists recognized on both a local and national level,” said Todd Baisch, DIFFA/Chicago chairman of the board. “We are continuously grateful to all who participate and support DIFFA/Chicago’s mission as we truly believe the art and design community can help forge new pathways for those living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.”

Before the event began, 60 VIP ticket holders were treated to an exclusive reception where they were able to mingle with the event’s artists, grant recipients, and sponsors — as well as a sneak preview of the art that would be auctioned off later. Welcoming remarks were given by 2019 Juror Sergio Gomez, participating artist Gail Mancuso, “Off the Wall” artist and DIFFA/Chicago Board Member Franklin Riley, and DIFFA/Chicago Board Member Oliver Aguilar.

Guests gather for the live auction at Art for Life.
Guests gather around the stage for the live auction.

The crowd favorite “Off the Wall” feature was the highlight of the night for many, allowing guests to choose their own piece of a larger canvas to take home.

DJ Greg #Feelgood provided the soundtrack for the night, with libations and food provided by J&L Catering, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Anheuser Busch.

Other sponsors for this year’s event included Title Sponsor Herman Miller; Presenting Sponsor Steelcase; Media Sponsor Luxe Interiors + Design; Diamond Sponsors Thomas Interiors and Leopardo; Platinum Sponsors ASID Illinois, Interior Investments, Shaw Contract Group, and Skender; and Communications Sponsor Jo Chicago Communications.

Art for Life Justin Suico, Gail Mancuso, Franklin Riley, and Rob Mancuso
Justin Suico, Gail Mancuso, Franklin Riley, and Rob Mancuso
Art for Life Off the Wall artist Franklin Riley
Artist Franklin Riley cuts a piece of the “Off the Wall” canvas for a guest.
Art for Life Artist Isabella Scott
Artist Isabella Scott enjoying the Art for Life event.

Madison Muller is a senior at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, learning to navigate the contemporary media environment with compassion and candor. She enjoys writing about health, travel, and humanity. You can always find her with a coffee in hand. Madison is a proud supporter of the National Eating Disorders Association.