From left, Kenzie Carter, Vanessa Babb and Gillian Frederick, all 14, attend the Art for Sart, A Night in Bohemian Paris at Eden Vale Winery on Sunday evening. The event is a fundraiser for SART, the Sexual Assault Response Team.

'Art for SART' offers living 'paintings'

A mustached accordion player serenaded attendees of a fundraiser for Jackson County's Sexual Assault Response Team at EdenVale Winery on Sunday.

A pint-sized street urchin with a painted on version of the coal black lip adornment scampered after the tall wandering musician at the "Art for SART" event, while a woman holding a fragrant bouquet of lavender greeted entering bohemian-dressed guests. The scent of her fragrant bouquet wafted toward the check-in table where Susan Moen, SART's executive director, greeted guests and accepted payment for the evening's entertainment.

In addition to an assortment of painters, jewelers and other artists assembled in the winery's grassy courtyard, Tableau Vivant, an art form new to the Rogue Valley, debuted Sunday evening.

The "living art" is composed of a group of live, costumed people frozen in a rich, artistic setting and is designed to evoke a hyperrealistic painting.

The colorful and richly costumed tableau was set for turn-of-the-century (1900-1920s) Paris in a bohemian artist colony.

While artists Steve LaRose, Sarah F. Burns and others were busy painting canvasses, Jane Almquist added glittering pink, black and gold fantasy makeup to 14-year-old Vanessa Babb. The teen's two friends, Kenzie Carter, 14, and Gillian Frederick, 14, said they were dressed in period costume as "atmosphere."

In Tableau Vivant, lighting is key. Arranged to eliminate shadow and tease the senses into thinking it's a two-dimensional painting, people are clearly more lifelike than in a typical photograph. Fourteen models made up SART's tableau. Participants were offered a chance to bid to take the place of the "painting's" characters, said Moen.

In addition to the ticket sales and tableau bidding, vendors also donated portions of their sales to SART.

Libby Edson used the event to relaunch her jewelry business and to support a cause she believes in. Fifty percent of Edson's Sunday sales were slated for SART, she said.

"They're our No. 1 charity," Edson said. "And they're losing some of their funding. So this seemed like a good way to help. It's the most ethical thing we can do."

State and federal budget cuts have SART struggling to find funding for its work as first responders to reports of rape, helping victims with compassion and experience through the medical and legal processes, Moen said.

"We are doing a sexual assessment exam once every for days in Jackson County," Moen said. "We are also seeing a need for increased peer counselors. We've all seen what's happening to nonprofit funding. This (event) seems like an innovative way to raise money and raise awareness."

The goal this year was to clear $5,000, said the event's producer, Greg Frederick. Frederick and his band, The Rogue Suspects, also performed at the event.

Moen said about 160 people attended, paying either $50 or $25 per person, depending on whether or not they signed on for the catered dinner. Moen said the Tableau Vivant promotes local wineries and art. While bidding on tableau participation was not as high as Moen had hoped, she expects it will rise at future events. Moen rated this year's kick-off experience a success.

"We saw that people had a great time," Moen said. "This is going to be a signature event for SART. Next year, we will build on what we learned at this event."

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