Artists Who Love AHP Donate to Art for AIDS
For 16 years AHP programs have benefited from Art for AIDS, AHP’s annual art auction, and the generous artists who donate their work to the auction. We spoke with two of our contributing artists, Trish Tunney and Michael Beckler, to find out what motivates them to give art to our event year after year.
Michael Beckler says Art for AIDS appealed to him “because it was a way for me to contribute to a great cause with my first love, art.” A Bay Area native, Beckler witnessed the initial onslaught of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Michael says, “I watched several friends that I grew up with suffer with the disease and die.”
Even though living with AIDS is very different these days, Michael believes that AHP’s services are more important than ever: “AIDS is still here, people are still dying. There is still stigma and people continue to contract the disease. Unfortunately, there is an attitude out there that the disease in under control and ‘other people get the disease, not me.’ The work that AHP does —to make people aware of the disease and help others with counseling, testing, research, and educational programs—is invaluable.”
Trish Tunney has been donating her work to Art for AIDS for more than a decade. She began her photography career at the age of 11 when her parents agreed to build a dark room in the basement of their modest Long Island home. As a lesbian, Trish felt pretty removed from AIDS, until she began dating her current partner, who has been living with HIV for over 25 years.
Trish says, “I don’t know of anyone else devoting this level of mental health care to our community. I think if AHP were not here, this work would not get done.”
Trish appreciates the thoughtful and discerning jury process that picks which artworks are accepted into Art for AIDS. “After years of giving my art to any worthy cause that asked for it, I learned to be selective about which charity auctions I take part in,” Tunney says. “It takes an extraordinary organization to put together a truly successful art auction that attracts the attention of supportive collectors and remarkable artists,” next to whose work “you feel honored” to hang yours.
Many thanks to Michael, Trish, and all of our contributing artists. Art for AIDS takes place on October 25th at 5:30 pm at the City View above the Metreon. Buy your tickets online. See you then!