The Urban Arty Party held its second annual fundraiser for the Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter on November 2, 2013 at MINI of Chicago. Supporters came out on that Saturday evening for the cause and enjoyed music, drinks and mingling. Local artisans were set up in booths offering handcrafted artistry of all kinds from stationary to scented soaps, bags and home goods, plantable paper gifts, paintings and much more.
“The service board does a fantastic job championing the cause—finding vendors and sponsors, it’s really a blessing for our organization,” said Kristin Gover, the CareCenter’s senior director of marketing and communications. “These people are really committed to what we do to really find ways that are different than traditional, more formal galas.”
She added that the Midwest CareCenter is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit hospice providers in the Chicago area, and that the staff is top notch in every way. “We have outstanding staff who are really committed and compassionate for those we serve.”
The Midwest CareCenter is a provider of hospice, palliative care and grief support services. The Urban Art Party benefits the organization, aiding to its free programs for patients and families. Those programs include art therapy, pet therapy, massage therapy, music therapy, veteran outreach, horticultural therapy and Camp Care (for children and youth struggling with the loss of a loved one).
Lina Nicklin, the creative director of Urban Art Party, was also out to support this event that she headed. She talked about how the aforementioned programming provided by the CareCenter separates it from other hospices and why an event like the Urban Art Party is important in order to keep these programs free for those they serve. Nicklin mentioned that twenty percent of the artist sales will go directly to the organization.
The artisans are the main attraction of the event and Nicklin alluded to the organizers’ great fortune with having local creatives be a part of the Urban Art Party, especially the second time around.
“It was so much easier to plan it this year than it was the last time. People get wind of it, the artists love it and want to be a part of it. Plus, it exposes them to a completely different demographic of people… and it gives access to others who normally would not find these amazing craftspeople on their own.”
To find these artists, Nicklin said that she does a lot of crafting and craft fair hopping throughout the year. She also uses Etsy and Facebook to search for opportunities.
“The whole web of social media really got me to where we are today, which is an incredible selection of 30 artisan vendors. I couldn’t be more excited for next year’s event because I know that it’s going to be even more awesome.”
She also spoke about how the fun nature of the event helps to uplift spirits and celebrate life for such a sobering cause. The Party is meant to be fun and not “another one of those sit-down galas that everybody goes to.”
“We want it to be something that is casual. You support the cause, buy your ticket, come for an hour, have a drink, do some shopping and then go home and go to bed. There are no speeches, no dinner, no program… You can be what you want it to be, and I think that’s what I like about the Urban Art Party that sets it apart from so many other charity events.”
Many people would scratch their heads to consider an event at a car dealership, but for the Urban Art Party team it has been successful for two years running. Last year they held the event at Grossinger City Autoplex. This year, Fields Auto Group and MINI of Chicago have provided the space gratis as a nonprofit organization.
“We are so thankful to Fields Auto Group and MINI of Chicago for giving us this amazing venue. You don’t think of a dealership as a place to have a party, but you see how it works.”