by Jessica Langdon
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You don’t have to be an art expert to recognize the beauty in the work the Catholic Education Foundation does.
Its beauty walks the halls of Catholic schools every day in the shape of the students who are able to attend, thanks to CEF scholarships.
And now — through a unique event — colorful reminders of CEF’s beauty are gracing the walls of local homes and businesses in the form of paintings and other pieces of art.
The second year for the CEF Futures’ Art Event drew a crowd to the third floor of Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, Mo., on Feb. 27.
Attendees bid in a silent auction on artwork created by local artists.
And a raffle gave winners a chance to select for themselves a masterpiece created by a student in one of the 20 CEF schools in the archdiocese.
The CEF Futures is a group of young professionals in their 20s to 40s that supports CEF’s mission of providing scholarships to help chil- dren in low-income families attend Catholic schools.
Many of the attendees went through Catholic schools themselves, said Stephanie Goodenow, who was part of the planning committee for the event and is a CEF board member.
“It’s easy to send this message to them to give back, because Catholic education gave them a network, gave them an extended family,” she said. “And the mission of CEF, it’s just very simple: We want every child to be able to enjoy what we enjoyed, regardless of their resources.”
The art event sold out for a second year in a row, and Alicia Kirkpatrick, who was part of the planning committee, was thrilled when 6:30 p.m. arrived and people started trickling in.
“We get to see the product of all our hard work over the past several months and really see the people in here having fun,” said Kirkpatrick. “It’s a great vibe, a happy vibe, a holy vibe.”
Jane Wilson, who also served on the planning committee and worked with the local artists that donated pieces, was excited to see many artists not only giving of their talent, but also attending the event.
“This event is fun, exciting — it’s a great way to get involved for young individuals,” she said.
And it helped share CEF’s mission with more people.
In addition to the art, guests enjoyed musical entertainment. Some even posed as a caricaturist sketched away.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann welcomed the crowd to the art event and said it was wonderful to see the works of professional artists on dis- play.
He was also impressed by the younger artists.
“We have some great talent in our young people in our schools,” said Archbishop Naumann.
The display gave the CEF schools an opportunity to shine.
“Through the art aspect, we get to see inside each of these schools. Each school has chosen a special piece to donate,” said Kirkpatrick.
Students’ works range from still lifes to landscapes to a child’s rendering of Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
“It adds the element that we’re not this separate group raising money to give to them, but it makes them a part of this night,” said Kirkpatrick.
And the schools have happily lent a hand in other ways.
“We have with us tonight several of the principals and staff at our CEF schools — they’re serving the food, they’re bussing the tables,” said Goodenow.
Erica Kratofil, CEF grants and social media manager, had the initial inspiration for the art event and has been excited to see so many people become involved and want to take part over the past two years.
“I think people are really excited about the event, about the opportunity to support CEF scholarships and to be in a fun space and see cool art from kids and local artists,” she said.
She enjoyed watching all the pieces of art come in ahead of the event, waiting to be displayed.
“It’s really fun to see their creativity and all the different directions they’ve gone with their projects,” she said.
While final figures were still being tallied, the event was expected to have brought in more than $20,000 to fund 22 scholarships for kids.
“It’s a wonderful way to show our donors what we do in a simple way,” said Patty Morrisey, CEF director of development. “It’s great. They can take a piece home with them and remember CEF that way.”
“I think we can all see this continuing many years into the future,” said Kirkpatrick.