BRAIN AID: ART FOR KELLY’S SAKE

Below is a great article about BRAIN AID by Connie White that is currently featured on the NAKED CITY Blog – www.nakedcitywichita.com

BRAIN AID: ART FOR KELLY’S SAKE
words > Connie White

A good many members of Wichita’s art community crowded into Old Town’s Tangent Lab art gallery last Friday for Brain Aid, a silent art auction to benefit Kelly Moody. Moody, who had surgery to remove a brain tumor and is now undergoing cancer treatment, owns the Firehouse Art Gallery and Frame Shop on west Douglas. Through the years, I’ve entrusted him with framing everything from my grandmother Beryl’s oil painting of an old homestead, to a mixed media work by Leigh Leighton-Wallace. And I’m saving a three-piece drawing by my nephew Keaton for him to do when he’s back at work in his shop.

Undoubtedly, Moody’s craftsmanship and eye as a framer are important to his standing in ICT’s art world. But that doesn’t come close to explaining the outpouring of love and support for him and his family (wife, Dana; sons Hayden and Miles) at Brain Aid. Not even the fact that the date of the event — Dec. 4 — is Moody’s birthday gets to the heart of the matter.

What does is this: “Kelly has always been one of the unsung heroes of the Wichita art community,” says Dustin Parker, an artist and one of three main benefit organizers. “The Firehouse Gallery played a vital role in establishing the careers of a large numbers of artists, myself included. The gallery was an incubator of talent and creativity and freedom of expression.”

The idea for Brain Aid was artist Wade Hampton’s, but it didn’t take much to talk Parker and Brad Ruder, an artist and owner of Tangent Lab, into getting involved. And the three had no problem in enticing more than 60 artists to contribute works to the silent auction. Thus, benefit-goers had the choice of bidding on some 150 works of art — and by the end of the night had raised just under $8,000 for the Moody family.

“I’m a big believer in karma,” Hampton says. “I think what you put out, good or bad, comes back to you. Kelly has quietly supported so many artists with his friendship, his gallery and his frame shop. A lot of artists have had their very first show or their very first solo show at his Firehouse Gallery.”

“For me, the event was incredibly fulfilling and humbling to see so many people give of their art, funds and effort,” Ruder says. “We had a core group of volunteers who helped hang the show and work that evening, including Lee Shiney, Chris Frank, Travis Hinnen, Jess Bechtelheimer, Chad Droegemeir, Jana Erwin Durfee, Rod Pocowatchit and Scott Garvey. Several people donated food and drink, and Sugar Sisters donated a cake to celebrate Kelly’s birthday.”

My husband Phil and I bid on at least a dozen art pieces that night, and brought home a wonderful little painting by Chris Gulick, who’s better known for his kinetic sculptures and mosaics. The frame on Gulick’s work is certainly adequate, but to set it off just right may well require re-framing. Kelly, get well soon!

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