“It’s bittersweet for us in a lot of ways,” says Graham Ross, who along with partners Tod and Linda Ernst started their fundraising fashion show in a small club in 1993.
“Things change,” says Cody Patton, executive director of Positive Directions, an AIDS service organization that benefits from Art Aid. The show grew into an art auction, show and party.
“There are definitely no hard feelings on anybody’s part,” Patton says. “I told them I completely understand where they’re coming from and appreciated the years they contributed to it.”
Ross says he and the Ernsts became involved because they wanted to do a fashion show.
“We had some fun inspirations and looks we wanted to do.”
He says they thought it would be great to raise money for AIDS causes, and the show benefited several organizations through the years.
“We wanted it to get bigger, and it did,” Ross says. “It became so big that it just got really, really hard for us to try to run our salon … and do the event (in) the way we needed to do it.”
A few years back, the Plant Hair owners began alternating years for the event, and Positive Directions threw an Art 4 Life event on the years Art Aid was off.
Patton says last year’s Art Aid was a fabulous event that raised $114,000, but he says there were a lot of frustrations, too.