Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press
John Lennon, Elizabeth Taylor, David Letterman and James Dean are just some of the subjects of Birmingham Artist Tom Maniaci’s pop art works for charity.
“When I started doing these portraits, I had no idea that it would evolve into these big paint-by-number canvases for charity and that the art that I started years ago — these big portraits — would turn into a vehicle for raising money for all these worthy causes. That’s the best part,” Maniaci said.
At the annual The Art of Giving, Maniaci, founder of Frame Your Face, sets up large canvases of his pop art in paint-by-number sections of famous current or former pop icons, letting attendees get creative at the fundraiser. This year’s pop art subject is Frank Sinatra.
Maniaci formed Frame Your Face in 2001, to showcase his artwork.
Since 2005, the organization has raised more than $160,000 for various causes. He has created more than 40 large paint-by-number canvases in support of local 501c charities.
This is the fourth year for The Art of Giving. Proceeds will benefit The Rhonda Walker Foundation.
Music will play during the event from DJ Lex Morrison of Dirty 313 Productions, with food from Bacco Ristorante of Southfield and a bar provided by Heaven Hill Distilleries of Kentucky, Maniaci said.
“We’re really getting to be known as a really good party for a really good cause that Thursday before Memorial Day weekend every year,” Maniaci said.
The emcee at last year’s event was Rhonda Walker, morning news anchor for WDIV-Channel 4 and founder of the Rhonda Walker Foundation. Maniaci asked Walker to let her charity be the focus of this year’s event.
Through the Foundation’s core program “Girls into Women,” Walker helps inner-city girls achieve great things.
The program provides them with a mentoring opportunity in addition to career, professional and personal activities, encouraging them to realize their potential and dream big, Walker said.
“We’re just really excited about the outcomes and the impacts we’re having on kids,” Walker said.
In the program, girls start in eighth grade and meet monthly through their senior year of high school. The girls who have gone through the program have a 100 percent high-school graduation rate as well as a 100 percent college enrollment and graduation rate so far, Walker said.
“I’m thrilled,” Walker said. “Anytime you have an organization that just wants to raise funds to help you, it’s a huge benefit. Because in a smaller nonprofit organization, every dollar that comes in is pivot to our activities that we do with our teens, and a lot of fundraising is on the 100 percent shoulders of me and my board of directors.
“So any time you have an organization completely outside of your foundation family that wants to help, it means so, so much.”
The 4th annual Art of Giving will be held at Scavolini by Cucina Moda in Birmingham, Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person, and can be purchased at the door, at FrameYourFace.com, at Optik, Bitonti Salon and Primi Piatti. For more information about The Rhonda Walker Foundation, visit http://www.rhondawalkerfoundation.org
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