Next week, Spring Street Studios will be turned into a sideshow circus with music, art, food, libation and more as artists and creatives converge to benefit an organization that I’ve wanted to tell you about for some time now, Artists for Artists. The event with a twist is Cirque du Freak benefiting Artists for Artists.
Cirque du Freak is scheduled for 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring St. Valet parking and tickets are $75 per person.
Artists for Artists (A4A) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides Emergency Recovery Grants designed to assist artists experiencing career-threatening medical emergencies.
Artists that receive the grant can use it to re-establish, improve or expand work capacity after a wide range of medical emergencies. A4A does this in partnership with local artists, organizations, private donors and through fundraising activities such as art shows, art auctions, galas, pop-up events and private art collection tours.
A4A represents the shared vision of co-founders Amber and Tra` Slaughter, the newlywed planners of the Cirque du Freak whose lives were touched by a recent tragedy that befell a friend and fellow artist. When this talented painter and sculptor was hospitalized as a result of complications from the flu, medical bills piled up quickly, creating a seemingly insurmountable obstacle for his family. In less than two weeks, Tra` and Amber mobilized the local arts community with an art auction that raised funds for the artist’s family.
Amber Slaughter, who serves as A4A’s vice president, explained the similar circumstances that many artists face.
“The costs of health insurance can be prohibitively expensive for an individual, so many of these independent contractors go uninsured,” she said. “That’s why Emergency Recovery Grants are an absolute necessity, and we’ve got to replenish our organization’s reserves after every emergency we serve.”
Cirque du Freak will be a raucous, avant-garde adventure featuring sword-swallowing, fire-breathing, burlesque queen and exotically inked vixen Emma Vauxdevil in a circus-style performance that would make P.T. Barnum blush. The evening of eclectic excess will also spotlight the talents of kinetic musicians Jane Leo, performers MDSO and the works of dozens of Houston-area artists. Rock-n-Roll Circus ringmaster Mills McCoin will serve as the evening’s emcee.
Proceeds from ticket sales, silent and live auctions and art sales will benefit future A4A recipients.
Works by the following artists (a veritable who’s who of Houston talent) will be available for purchase: Robert Hodge, Anat Ronen, Tony Parana, Kelley Devine, Matt Messinger, Adrian Landon Brooks, Kermit Patrick Eisenhut and John Runnels. A complete list of contributing artists is online at https://artists4artists.org, where tickets can be purchased.
At the beginning of the gala season, this one is going to be hard to top. Guests are encouraged to dress to impress in cocktail or vintage circus sideshow attire and purchase tickets in advance online.
Also, this Saturday, Sept. 14, the entire complex of art studios at Sawyer Yards returns to daytime hours, noon-5 p.m., for the monthly open studios. The Market at Sawyer Yards will be open again for day hours, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Spring Street Studios has extended hours until 7 p.m. Get all the details at sawyeryards.com.
Tour more than 350 open art studios, visit the exhibitors at The Market at Sawyer Yards and grab a craft brew from Holler Brewing. Please note, there are no dogs allowed inside the buildings (service dogs only). Really, it’s too hot out there for dogs, don’t you think?
The events are all free. The art is not!
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.