Imaginative installations peppered the recent Chicago Artists Coalition's annual benefit, Starving Artists, at CAC's west Loop gallery space this summer (photo courtesy of Chicago Artists Coalition).

Chicago Artists Coalition’s (CAC) annual benefit, Starving Artist, whet creative appetites with imaginative fare and whimsical, edible installations in celebration of the organization’s 40th anniversary. Taking place at CAC’s West Loop gallery space, Starving Artist welcomed more than 300 guests into four unique, multiple sensory environments that meshed culinary and visual arts by pairing visual artists Diana Gabriel, Luftwerk, Alexandra Noe and Edyta Stepien with chefs Matthias Merges (Yusho), Chris Pandel (Bristol/Balena), Kyle Peterson (Fulton Market Kitchen) and Jared Van Camp (Element Collective). The event raised more than $83,000 in support of CAC’s unique programming, which works to build a sustainable marketplace for local artists by providing them with educational resources, exhibition opportunities and entrepreneurial networks.

"We are thrilled by the continued enthusiasm and support for the fourth annual Starving Artist," said Sara Slawnik, CAC interim executive director. "This annual fundraiser has proven itself as a un
ique art party, combining creatives working in very different disciplines to reflect CAC’s cross-disciplinary mission.”

Co-chaired by Olga Markoff and Lesley Prizant Goodman, Starving Artist attracted guests including CAC Board Chairman and Expo Chicago President and Director Tony Karman, United States Artists CEO Carolina Garcia Jayaram, photographer Susan Aurinko, and
Gensler Design Director Todd Heiser, among other widely know arts dignitaries also on hand for the event.

Guests were greeted with a welcome cocktail by Revae Schneider of Femme Du Coupe before entering into Alexandra Noe’s “living room” hive lounge. Cocktails by Jason Brown of Kinmont were served in the buzzing space, complete with floating laser-cut bees, pollen sculptures and hexagonal serving platters that held delectables like green tea and sesame macaroons with honey-cured wild salmon created by Chef Jared Van Camp of Element Collective.

Artist Diana Gabriel’s striking red and orange string installation was accented by Colombian food, including goats milk cheese, puffed coconut rice and crispy stuffed plantains by Chef Chris Pandel of Bristol and Balena. White paper blossoms by artist Edyta Stepien in the adjoining gallery space covered the walls like points on a map.

CAC’s Sweet Shop allowed guests to take treats home, including Das Caramels, GaryPoppins Popcorn, Tate’s Cookies, Vosges Haut-Chocolat and artist-made fortune cookies. Performances, including Nicole LeGette’s Blushing Poppy Dance Club and the Safire Belly Dancers of Chicago, complimented by music from DJ Victor Carreon, who helped close out the event with a lively dance party.

Chicago Artists Coalition Starving Artists Gala Raises $83K for Programming Initiatives