Fashion, art and philanthropy unite on October 8 at the Art of Giving Fashion Show at the Renaissance Gallery in Cross Keys. Hosted by Renaissance and Ruth Shaw, the event benefits the Baltimore School for the Arts and Kennedy Krieger Institute. It will also showcase former Kennedy Krieger patients and members of the BSA’s Twigs, a free after-school arts program for city children.
Unlike many local fundraisers, the event unites two Baltimore city organizations. By sharing both their volunteer and staff resources, both the BSA and Kennedy Krieger benefit from the support of the patrons of the event. Carter Polakoff, Development Director at the BSA, and Dara Schnee, Special Gifts Officer for Kennedy Krieger, underscore the importance of their united effort to support two vital city institutions. In the fourth year of collaboration, both institutions applaud the collective efforts of their many volunteers.
Polakoff notes, “Everyone is out helping.”
Among those instrumental to the effort are Renaissance Gallery and Ruth Shaw. The gallery’s vast modern space makes a perfect venue for the fashion show, with the expansive runway juxtaposed against the large-scale paintings and sculptures. The space has been generously donated by Renaissance owners, Merritt Miller and Rachel Rubin. Together with Ruth Shaw owner Ray Mitchener, who provides the couture and creative direction for the fashion show, they make the production a must-see event.
Renaissance and Ruth Shaw are not the only businesses at Cross Keys donating to the cause. Shops at Cross Keys will donate a portion of sales on the day of the event to the BSA and Kennedy Krieger. The high-end boutiques at Cross Keys — ranging from hip jean store Jean Pool to men’s haberdashery Samuel Parker — offer some of the best shopping in Baltimore.
This year, the show will feature patients who have benefitted from the work of Kennedy Krieger. For the past 75 years, Kennedy Krieger has been a world leader in the research, education and treatment of children with special needs. Two former patients, Megan and Ben, will showcase the organization’s dedication to helping the children it serves achieve their potential.
For Megan, a high schooler who suffered a rare condition that left her paralyzed, her participation helps to fulfill a lifelong dream to be involved in the fashion industry. Despite her inability to walk, Megan’s therapist worked with her to achieve her goal. The culmination of their efforts was Megan’s recent trip down the runway at New York Fashion Week. Megan returns to the runway at Art for Giving to highlight the incredible strides she made as a patient at Kennedy Krieger. Ben is also a testament to Kennedy Krieger’s efforts. After suffering a brain injury in a severe car accident, he had to relearn all of his basic skills, from speaking to walking. Today, he is a high school junior looking forward to applying to college.
Nearly everything for the event has been donated, from the venue to the runway to the food. The institutions will split the proceeds 50/50, and have earmarked the funds to further benefit kids. For the BSA, this means providing tickets for Baltimore city public school students to see the school’s production of the Nutcracker this winter. Nutcracker dancers will model costumes from the annual holiday spectacle at Art for Giving.
The Art of Giving anticipates 200 guests, all of whom will enjoy a day of fashion, food and art, to benefit two of Baltimore’s best assets. To purchase tickets, visit the website, here.
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