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Places in Our Hearts

Places in Our Hearts - Artists Unify For a Heartfelt Cause

Credits: By: Kelly Taggart
Photos: Marj Frye and Allen Carrasco

Artists Unify For a Heartfelt Cause

St Jude Childrens Research Hospital The Las Vegas Chapter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital proudly showcased the third annual Las Vegas Honors St. Jude: An Affair of the Art event on May 12, 2012. This dazzling black-tie gala was held at the Las Vegas Four Seasons hotel and resort and featured hosted cocktails, a gourmet dinner, and star-studded entertainment and appearances.

The highlight of the evening was a series of silent and live auctions for individual pieces from a collection of custom artwork by local artists. The artwork featured three-dimensional hearts made of white gypsum that were based on the original design by Las Vegas artist, Miguel Rodriguez.

Each participating artist for An Affair of the Art, was awarded the opportunity to give a heart “life” through their vision and interpretation, donating their time, materials and the artwork itself.

Before the gala, these unique creations were proudly exhibited throughout the streets of Las Vegas and now that the fundraising is over, the collection has returned as an interactive art exhibit. Every two months they will homes with sponsors or other high visibility locations so they can continue to create awareness.

Through sponsorship of the project and funds raised at the event, the overall An Affair of the Art venture was a huge against childhood cancer and other deadly diseases.

When asked about the inspiration for the project, local another event, and focused on how we could get the entire community involved.The inspiration started with one artist who created the foundation with a smaller heart and draw even more attention. So many artists have donated their time to create these beautiful hearts all for the great cause!”

A Heart to Heart With Those Closest to the Cause

Niki J Sands

Niki J Sands

Dorit Schwartz

Dorit Schwartz

Health Beauty Life Magazine sat down with Dorit Schwartz and Niki J Sands to talk art, inspiration and the wonderful cause they’ve chosen to wholeheartedly support.

We understand that you founded the non-profit organization and are very active with so many of the projects and events. What is your official title?
Dorit Schwartz - Tanya Amid and I founded and are co-chairs of the Las Vegas Chapter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I am also the chairperson of the Arts Department and head up the committee for the An Affair of the Art project.

What is your goal with An Affair of the Art?
Dorit Schwartz - Our goal is to follow Danny Thomas’ dream of “No child should die in the dawn of life” and to create awareness for St. Jude in the Las Vegas Valley.

Do locals know about the project?
Dorit Schwartz - People in Las Vegas know about the An Affair of the Art project because they see the hearts all over the place including The District, Town Square, Trivoli, Boca Park, Red Rock Hotel and Casino, and the new Smith Center for the performing arts, which just recently opened.

How did you get involved?
Dorit Schwartz - I personally have been giving back for quite awhile in our community, and as an artist myself, I wanted to get Las Vegas artists involved along with local schools and the community. It was important to getmy artist friends involved not only for exposure for them, but to offer much-needed support for such a great cause.

Ryan Reason - You Can't Spell Love without L.V.

Artist: Ryan Reason
Title: You Can’t Spell LOVE without L.V.

How many artists participated this year?
Dorit Schwartz - 40 artists created small hearts and 11 produced large hearts

We hear that you have recruited a lot of artist friends over the years to help with the cause.
Dorit Schwartz - Yes, we knew we’d need help so I reached out to others and brought Niki on board. The community has banded together to embrace this phenomenal cause.

Niki, how did you get involved with St. Jude and An Affair of the Art?
Niki J Sands - One of the reasons I got involved with this project was to make sure the artists have a voice and to show how giving they really are. Last year I was the first artist to be asked to paint on a larger heart. The committee was excited about getting more artists involved, but they didn’t know whom to get. Since I know so many local artists, they asked me to be on the committee and be a part of the selection process. It’s really quite an honor.

 We understand that you created two hearts this year, one large and one small. Tell us about them.
Niki J Sands - My smaller heart titled MyFrida Within is a depiction of Frida Kahlo who suffered throughout her life and overcame many physical and mental obstacles. I felt that she had more heart than many artists and overcoming these obstacles made her stronger as an artist. She was very expressive with her painting and involved hearts in all of her pieces, so I felt that I needed to capture that essence in my painting. My large heart is a very happy piece and Smile with Your Heart is the title. I wanted it to be joyful wherechildren and other people would go up to it and just smile when they saw it. I wanted it to just show that that life is good. Life is happy.

We know that it’s hard to pick a favorite piece of art, but which one impressed you the most this year and who was it by?
Niki J Sands - It’s a large heart by Dale Mathis that’s untitled. He’s such an amazing artist and it’s a wonderful piece that I found to be very inspiring. Inside, it lights up and moves, almost like a clock. He manufactured everything, cut it out and crafted the whole thing with gears and all. He surprised us all with this wonderful creation that went beyond all expectations.

What’s involved in the selection process? If an artist wants to participate next year, what should they do?
Dorit Schwartz - They can contact us through the website and submit their portfolio for consideration. We will view their work to see if their style is a fit for the cause and will work on a three dimensional heart.
Niki J Sands - We do approach a lot of local artists that we know, and whose work we feel provides a good fit, but if an artist wants to be considered on their own, they are welcome to apply. We do review their work, check their credentials and make a choice from there.

Dale Mathis - Untitled

Artist: Dale Mathis
Title: Untitled

Niki J Sands - Smile with Your Heart

Artist: Niki J Sands
Title: Smile With Your Heart

Beti Kristof - St. Jude Heart

Artist: Beti Kristof
Title: St. Jude Heart







If chosen, what happens next and how much direction should an artist expect?
Niki J Sands - We provided the blank heart forms this year and stated the theme, making special note that this would be viewed by children and families, but didn’t put any other restrictions on them. We really wanted it to be something that came from inside of them, using their own signature style and unique vision. You know, something beautiful from the heart!

For more information about The Las Vegas Chapter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the An Affair of the Art project please contact:

Lainie Strouse - Regional Event
Liaison Specialist
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research
Hospital-Pacific Coast Region

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