HeArts for a Good Cause

HeArts Against Aids, a fund-raiser, in its 11th year, that will be held at Hal & Mal's on Feb. 15.

His spare room is full of art. Paintings, sculptures, pottery and stained glass lean in stacks against the walls, on chairs and on the floor. Pottery covers a set of shelves in his living room. Posters and flyers litter the coffee table and the couch. Framed photographs crowd the walls. Scattered about are an acrylic on canvas and newspaper called Nude #2 by Julie McCartney, an oil on board called St. Bridget's Cross by Sandy McNeil, a sack of books donated by the University Press and jeweled dog collars.

John Lansdale is collecting all this stuff for HeArts Against Aids, a fund-raiser, in its 11th year, that will be held at Hal & Mal's on Feb. 15. An organization run entirely by volunteers, HeArts has collected more than $500,000 for Mississippians living with HIV and AIDS. Lansdale, its chairman, keeps the artwork at his house before the event. "It's really impressive to see all the artwork displayed," he says.

And it's nice when it's all auctioned off. Artists donated more than 250 items this year. Lansdale says this has been their best year, yet, and promises there is something for every size wallet: jewelry from $10 and paintings many times that much.

Then there's the food. As a Hal & Mal's employee, I see the food first-hand every year. More than 25 restaurants, caterers and individuals donate food to feed the masses, last year topping a thousand people. It is a sight to behold (and digest). The tables are usually laden with delectables for every appetite. As you dine this year, Lisa Palmer and the Knight Bruce Trio and Eric Stracener will perform, in addition to Van Haze, a local disc jockey, who is sure to get the Valentine Dance hoppin'. (Inside sources say selections by Donna Summer are key.)

Lansdale says the organization has been appealing to the African-American community to get involved with the event, too. "The group with the highest increase of HIV and AIDS is African American," he says.

There is a $30 donation per person ($15 for students with an ID); dress is casual to dressy; fun is inevitable. 7 o'clock sharp.
— J. Bingo Holman


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