Southern Nevada Children First's Debut Fund-Raiser Puts Focus on Dessert and Art

By Bobbie Katz April 13, 2010, 11:16 AM EDT

Kaitlyn Paez and Martin Rivas dancing at the "Artfully Sweet" fund-raiser

Photo: Ronna Timpa

Southern Nevada Children First's "Artfully Sweet Fund-Raiser"
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Art and confectionery kept guests busy at “Artfully Sweet,” an afternoon charity event benefiting Southern Nevada Children First, which gives aid to pregnant and parenting teens. The fledgling organization’s first annual fund-raiser was held in the large lounge at Mix on the 64th floor of Mandalay Bay, hosted by DJ J.C. from Las Vegas radio station Mix 94.1 FM.

With the view of the city through the restaurant’s huge windows and the artwork inside providing the decor, more than 200 guests arrived to champagne and wine at the door. They then mixed and mingled and bid on items in three silent auctions sponsored by 50 local individuals, businesses, and community entities. Many of the items consisted of artwork donated by the several Las Vegas artists assembled for the event, who also did a live exhibition of their artwork around one half of the room and donated 40 percent of their sale proceeds to Children First.

As servers from Mix walked around with trays of passion fruit cheesecake and Chocolate Temptation, two of the restaurant’s signature French desserts, vegan and raw foods chef Stacey Dougan gave out samples of her vegetarian pastries.

The program included a presentation by the founder and executive director of the charity, Monique Harris, and testimonials by two of its mentored teenagers. On a small stage set up at the front of the room, live entertainment consisted of a hypnosis demonstration by Marc Savard; ballroom dance performances by Sergei Shapoval and his students, and a wheel act by former Cirque du Soleil artist John Brady. The live auction that followed included dates with Las Vegas firemen and police officers and a 50/50 raffle in which the winner received half the donations gathered in a bowl.

“I used to work for Cirque du Soleil,” said the event’s planner, Pien Bowler, a member of the charity's board and a volunteer, who explained the entertainment was really a collaboration between friends. “Because of that, I knew a lot of artists. I reached out to my friend Mike Davies, who owns Slow Motion Gallery here and he brought in artists, and my husband performs with Cirque and also knows a lot of artists as well. The entertainers and artists that took part in this were mostly friends of friends. They were all so supportive and gracious, as was Mix.”

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