Q&A with Felix Sanchez, Heart Art Director

Heart Art is around the corner — want more information? We caught up with this year’s director, Felix Sanchez, to ask him a few questions about Heart Art’s past eighteen years and get insider information about this year’s event!

Heart Art is in its 18th year — what do you attribute such great success to?
We have an amazingly generous and committed regional design/art community. We also have strong, consistent leadership from the AIGA board of directors and amazing sponsors, particularly Unisource Paper, who has been the lead sponsor since the first Heart Art Auction 18 years ago. Lastly, we could not have pulled this off without the legion of volunteers necessary to create the seamless presentation of Heart Art from year to year.
Can you tell us a little more about Project Angel Heart and why that organization was chosen for this fundraiser?
Project Angel Heart and AIGA CO were created and became players in the local scene around the same time in the late 80’s. Project Angel Heart’s mission to feed those with life threatening illness’s resonated with an early AIGA board. It also fit the need to create an event that would enable the new organization to begin to give back to the community, and, Heart Art was born.
What was the inspiration behind this year’s theme — A Feast for the Senses?
For a couple of reasons: for the past few fundraisers, we felt Project Angel Heart and what they do weren’t as strongly represented in the event. They were beneficiaries, for sure, but their presence and their mission felt a bit diluted. Therefore, we chose a “foodie” theme for this year’s event, which reflects Project Angel Heart’s mission to feed those living in the Denver-metro area with life-threatening illnesses with nutritious meals. The theme also reflects Denver’s exploding food culture and we wanted food as a main theme throughout, especially with the participation of Denver’s best restaurants. This year, attendees will get a “feast” for all their senses: from all the visual art, all the delicious food they will be sampling, listening to the sexy sounds from our DJ Jens Irish, as well as the feelings of romance with the Valentine’s Day aspect and the spirit of giving as they support two local non-profits (Project Angel Heart and AIGA Colorado).
Over the past few years what have been your favorites given away during the silent auction?
That is difficult if not impossible to answer, as there have been so many beautiful pieces created for the event over the years. Favorites include the beautiful 10 ft, silent & splash-free stainless steel waterfall created and donated by then board member Larry Beard of Urban Dwellers, valued at $10,000 and the fabulous bronze sculpture of a perfectly, delicately balanced small bird on a reed by Errol Beauchamp, also valued in the thousands of dollars.
Can you give us a sneak peak of what can be expect during dinner service?
In an art/silent auction type of event, it’s hard to do an actual sit-down dinner service, but we are scheduling our auction end times to coincide as if it were a dinner service. We will have Appetizer auctions, 1st Course, Main and Dessert auctions, featuring artwork from small, 3D sculptures in Appetizers, to our largest artwork made up of 11 20″ x 40″ panels, which we are saving for Dessert. As for food, we have 3 great restaurants participating who are serving actual Appetizers, Main Course and Dessert dishes while our attendees view and bid on art. Margs Taco Bistro will be serving various taquitos and stuffed jalapeno peppers for apps. Bombay Clay Oven will serve a Chicken Tikki Masala for main course. Finally, Crave Dessert Bar + Lounge will save the best for last, serving a chocolate raspberry torte for dessert. We expect these to be bite-size tastings from the restaurants, so we will also have a hearty table of finger foods available from our caterer. Throw in a beer from Odell Brewing Company, soft drinks from Izze and a cash wine bar, and we have a high caliber culinary feast where everyone will walk away satisfied.
Why is it important for the Denver design community to support charities like Project Angel Heart?
Project Angel Heart makes a huge impact in the city, but most only know of their initiatives through food events, like Heart Art and Dining Out for Life. It is astounding that they deliver over 4,000 meals a week to 800+ clients. There is obviously a great need from a small portion of our Denver population that would go underserved if it weren’t for the efforts of Project Angel Heart. This isn’t something just the design community needs to get behind, but the city as a whole needs to support what they do. I think there are several opportunities to support Project Angel Heart throughout the year, and certainly other charities that designers can (and do) benefit; I think AIGA Colorado has created one that works and has stood the test of time with Heart Art. I recommend any designer and/or artist find ways to help out Project Angel Heart anytime through their volunteer opportunities, like prepping food, or decorating the bags in which meals are delivered. That’s 4000 blank canvases a week!


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