With the sculptures generated by the stick drawings of the kids for Autoglow came the idea to fill the event space with ladders. Why? These ladders symbolized for me the leg up a donation to the Children’s Center would provide to the kids they help, but also the process by which all of us climb into our lives, and get to be contributing members of our community-one step up, at a time. In the dance floor/foyer I hung from the ceiling what seemed like an endless number of ladders- borrowed from everyone I knew.
I have had a leg up from others plenty of times, just like most people. I could have never done without this. All any kid needs is a leg up from a set of parents, a greater family, a good school and a focused community and a fair world. When any part of this goes awry, all of us who are able, need to step in.
We cut what seemed like a zillion stars from thin masonite, and painted them gold. Gold stars-this a simple visual representation of the achievement of my babyhood. I still remember the gold stars I got-don’t you? My figures were happily floating in the airspace-as any kid should be.
I did all of the figures, save one. The interior designer Charles Dunlap donated a figure, walking a dog, on his own. His dog went up the ladder and was already crossing over to a new place-his version of an enabled child not far behind.
The tables were not fancy; the not fancy chairs were every version of black we could find. The tablecloths-collages of photographs of kids printed on giant sheets of copy paper, overlaid with clear acetate. The centerpieces? Flashlights-shine the light wherever you can. Bottled water energy drinks-water, essential to life. Some of the steel ladders we welded up crossed over from one table to another-fun.
Its important with any fundraising event that the message be simple. There are those in need. There are those who can help. Helping others is the best possible time anyone could hope for. My job is to put together a visual telegram from those in need to those who can help. Let some visual sparkle do the rest.
The few moments before an event designed to raise money for a cause begins- I treasure. No matter what works or falls short, in the end, everything is about the sincere energy of the effort. The lighting people, the catering people, the entertainment people, the Children’s Center staff-so many people came together on this day, to a worthy end. I am lucky to know and have worked with all of them.
Those figures whose creation delighted me so much were not the star of this event. They just took their place along with the efforts of a lot of other very creative and energetic people. Once the room filled with people, there was a party going on. I am a member of a big group whose names and particulars may never be known-fine. We were just all hoping for the best, for the kids.
Not so long after this picture was taken, this room was jammed with people, every one of them a gardener busy nurturing the landscape.