Cascade AIDS Project Annual Auction

by Sebastian Fortino
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On Saturday, April 28th the Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) will host their 30th annual Art Auction and After Party. It’s the biggest event of the year for the non-profit, which has served people affected by HIV since 1985. The event draws both local and national sponsors, such as Wells Fargo, the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer Care Foundation, Nike, and OnPoint Community Credit Union.

PQ Portland spoke with Tyler TerMeer, Executive Director of CAP about this year’s event, what to expect, and how vital funds raised at the event benefit the community. While there is not a specific theme for the  2018 auction, TerMeer says the event celebrates 30 years of being an asset to the community in the Pacific Northwest.

“We brought together a host committee which represents the past 30 years of the auction, composed of artists, collectors, and auction patrons,” he said from Synchronicity, an HIV and LGBTQ health conference he attended in Washington, D.C. “The concept is to reach back out to the community, to get them excited about this new chapter in CAP’s life.”

All of the art for the auction is donated by local artists, or collectors in the community. While only about 20 pieces are auctioned off at the live auction, the silent auction has over 100 pieces available for bidding. As usual, the night will begin with a Patron Dinner, with a live auction beginning at 7PM. This is followed by a Silent Auction, and After Party, hosted at Montgomery Park.

“This year is exciting in that we’re changing the layout of the space. We have kept to the same concept, everything being on one level, but this year we have two floors of art allowing people to see the art and move between two levels, with our DJ on a skybridge,” he said. “This year we have a special photographer, Gia Goodrich, who has worked to create a backdrop that highlights the last 30 years of HIV in our community.”

Each year CAP makes sure to maintain a high caliber standard for the art which goes into the auction. The organization works with local artists and collectors who professionally jury the donations. In sum, so many people wish to help, and so many pieces are donated, the works must be vetted.

“After the pieces are juried, a curator decides which pieces go into the auction,” TerMeer explained. “We are the largest art auction in the Pacific Northwest, across all all events.”

CAP incorporated as a non-profit 33 years ago, but existed slightly before as a support group from the early 80s. Then, in 1985 there was a merger of several local groups to form a group which became CAP. The event has grown tremendously over time. It began with a small group of artists, and department store Saks Fifth Avenue had the first party. The event now draws over 500 dinner guests, then another 500 guests which attend the afterparty.

The funds raised will continue to make their services sustainable. Services such as HIV and STI testing, housing, navigation services, and continuing to build upon our first successful year of Prism Health. This year Prism will offer mental health services for LGBTQ people. Yet, CAP still strives to make the auction accessible to anyone who wishes to attend, and support their mission.

“That’s why we have two different experiences of the auction, we try to make it as accessible as possible, while still recognizing it is a fundraiser. Guests can come as a patron, with a $300 pre-reception, silent auction, dinner with live auction, and the after party,” TerMeer said, but there is a second option which will be attainable by more art lovers. “At $50 you can come and enjoy the afterparty, which also gets you access to the silent auction, dessert, an open bar, and dancing.”

According to TerMeer, the last few auctions raised between $600,000 and $630,000. This year their goal is to raise approximately the same amount. TerMeer points out with the current political climate in D.C., an administration which is decidedly uninterested in the LGBT community, one which will not even count LGBT people on the 2020 census, CAP is still an organization vital to local residents.  

As of Monday, April 23rd there were still tickets available. Please visit CAP for ticketing information.