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Auction part of 17th annual nonprofit gala

By Seth Mauzy
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 18, 2005
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Grand Ballroom site of benefit for AIDS foundation

The UA plans to host a charity auction and gala this weekend for one of Tucson's oldest and most respected nonprofits.

The 17th annual Jerôme Beillard Festival For Life, an annual charity event hosted by the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, will be held in the Student Union Memorial Center Grand Ballroom tomorrow.

The event has been hosted at a number of Tucson-area ballrooms in its 17-year history. Mae Krueger, events associate for SAAF, said that there were a number of reasons for bringing the event to the UA campus.

"The UA has a beautiful ballroom that will make an elegant setting for our event," Krueger said. "Previous years we've had it at resorts in the foothills, and we hope that hosting at the UA brings the event more central to Tucson."

The event will give attendees a chance to bid on a wide variety of artwork from around the globe in both a silent and live auction, as well as enjoying live jazz music from the Street Minstrels, Deb Luna and the Tim Schaffer Trio, and food courtesy of UA's Rincon Catering.

"We have oil paintings, sculpture, jewelry, some multimedia art exhibits," Krueger said. "Any medium of art you can think of we'll have represented Saturday."

The auctions will feature items from dozens of renowned artists, including Gail Marcus-Orlen, Lynn Taber and Sarafina Luz.

Other items up for auction include a stay for two in San Carlos, Mexico, a stay at a local bed and breakfast, as well as paper prayers, tiny works of traditional Japanese art that will be available for $10 apiece.

In addition to the auction, attendees can also try their luck at a number of casino-style games that also benefit the charity.

"This is the first year we're offering gaming. We will have black jack, roulette and craps," Krueger said. "People can buy chips as a donation to SAAF, and at the end of the night players will get a raffle ticket for every $25 in chips they have won, and three winners will receive gift baskets."

While the event is not affiliated with the university, Krueger said a number of individual students are donating their time to help set up the event, including participants in Project Volunteer's All Campus Philanthropy, which is also going on tomorrow.

Also helping with tomorrow's event will be Vladimir Novokshchenov, a philosophy senior who has been interning for SAAF's development section for the past eight months.

"I've been putting different things together for the event, like the PowerPoint presentation for the live auction," Novokshchenov said. "I like to do community service stuff, and I had volunteered for the Festival of Life last year, and I really liked the people at SAAF."

Krueger said all proceeds from the benefit will go to help SAAF provide services to those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and to prevention programs. Last year's event raised more than $70,000 for the Arizona charity.

Doors for tomorrow's event will open at 5 p.m., with the silent auction beginning at 5 as well. The live auction will begin at 6:15 p.m., and all bids must be in by 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 in advance from SAAF's office, 375 S. Euclid Ave., and are $60 at the door.

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