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CANFAR envisions a future without AIDS

Gala event aims to improve outreach to working young people

The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) is calling on young people to share their vision for an AIDS-free future with local artists at a gala this Saturday night (April 30). The event is a fundraiser in support of AIDS research.
 
Organized by CANFAR’s new Young Professionals Council, “Our Future Without AIDS” is a cocktail and dance party and interactive art experience happening at 99 Sudbury. The YPC aims to bridge the gap between CANFAR’s student volunteers and older donor base by encouraging young people to continue their involvement with CANFAR through all stages of their career.
 
Donated works by local artists will be up for auction, with all proceeds going to CANFAR’s research fund. All of the work is based on envisioning a future without AIDS.
 
Contributing artists include painters, photographers and fashion designers. During the party, painter Callen Schaub will create a painting live, in what is sure to be one of the most interesting installations of the night.
 
“I saw the equipment that he uses to paint, and it’s kind of like a bicycle turned on its side. He does abstract paintings using a wheel attached to a pedal; it spatters the paint on the canvas,” says Ron Barry, YPC chair.
 
Guests will also be treated to live music and dance performances based on the night’s theme. Performers include jazz band Ear Candy, blues-soul singer Toz, queer pop act Sugil Reid, synth R&B singer Lisa Michelle, funk acts Nick Teehan and Saidah Baba Talibeh, and the Silhouettes Dance Company.
 
A dance party into the wee hours of the night will feature DJs Kiki Le Freak, Cosmic Cat and Ghetto Cyborg – who wears his DJ equipment on his body while circulating through the party.
 
The gala will also see the launch of a social media campaign conjured up by Everyone Is an Artist owner Kyle Kofsky, who’s also part of the YPC. Guests will be encouraged to tweet about their hope for a future without AIDS, with a live feed of all tweets on display.
 
While the night is bound to be fun, it’s all part of a plan to keep young people interested in the work CANFAR does. The organization has raised more than $17 million for AIDS research since 1987. CANFAR-funded research has led directly to several significant medical breakthroughs.
 
“The idea is essentially that there are people like me who are passionate about curing AIDS but can’t play a role in the laboratory,” Barry explains. “But there are roles for us to play in the community, and one of those roles is to help raise money. What we’re asking is to help make sure these scientists are funded, even with small donations of $5-10.”
 
Barry says the YPC is open to anyone who wants to contribute, noting that it counts lawyers, doctors, accountants, artists and others in its membership. The group plans to expand its outreach work over the coming year with more low-key events, including a pub-night series where young people can meet AIDS researchers to learn about the latest developments in the fight against AIDS.
 
TAG: Our Future Without AIDS happens Sat, April 30 at 99 Sudbury. Tickets are $50 (that includes two drinks) and are available at [http://bit.ly/fMAwPA] Doors open at 9pm.