There’s music and dancing, but Hearts Social Club is not your typical bottle-popping, booty-shaking kind of party.
It’s a monthly gathering of artists — photographers, painters, designers and more. No egos. No competition. They come together and pour their imaginations into little wooden hearts at Tower Tavern in Martini Corner.
It’s a team effort. DJs Joc Max and Max Ross provide the soulful sounds. Donald “Scribe” Ross and his wife, Alisa, are the hosts. Sign Connection, a custom sign shop in Olathe, donated the hearts that serve as the foot-tall blank canvases. They all contribute in their own way, and the public is invited, too.
As one of Kansas City’s most celebrated graffiti artists and a resident artist at Children’s Mercy Hospital, Scribe started this event with two things in mind: community and creativity for a good cause in a benefit art auction to help the hospital expand its guest services program.
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And the art they’re creating is beautiful.
“It’s a humble and safe place,” says Rich Lester, who took part in the first artist gathering last month. “Large groups drive me crazy, but it’s the perfect evening. You start doing your art and there’s music and drinks, and people start wandering around and checking out each other’s work. It’s very free-form, and we’re all doing what we love. And the greatest thing about this event is that every bit of effort is going to help the kids.”
Children’s Mercy’s guest services department, at the front desk, is essentially the concierge of the hospital.
It’s a relatively new program, says coordinator Lisa Take, with many functions. When you’re in an emergency, you often leave with just the clothes on your back. Guest services offers a clothing closet and toiletries. Sometimes the wait is long and anxiety-ridden. The Cookie Cart aims to take the edge off with complimentary coffee, milk, cookies and such. They do what they can to provide comfort.
“It’s all about what is best for the patients and families,” she says. “Guest services is one of the first impressions they get of the hospital.” The services are offered on the main campus, but the hospital needs money to expand to other locations.
In December, all of the art will be auctioned in a First Friday event. The details are still in the making, but opening bids will start at $50 and go no higher than just over $100 in an effort to allow young collectors a chance to buy art they may not otherwise afford. The goal is to raise $10,000.
Anyone is invited to watch the artists at work. Interested in joining the creative action? Let them know on Facebook. But does every artist have to make a heart?
“I like to think of them as thank-you cards to the person that will be giving that money to Children’s Mercy,” Scribe says. “I encourage the artists to start with the heart, but I don’t care what it turns into.” His wife, Alisa, known for her plush designs, has already turned one of the wooden hearts into a stuffed animal with a heart-shaped derriere.
At Hearts Social Club, love is all around. And there’s one rump shaker after all.
Hearts Social Club
8 p.m. to midnight Thursday at Tower Tavern, 401 E. 31st St. Music by Joc Max and Max Ross. For more details, go to Facebook.com/HeartsSocialClubKansasCity.