A bright yellow design illuminates the basin of the mosaic bird bath Cortez Davis intricately pieced together for Van Go’s 10th annual “What Floats Your Boat” auction and fundraiser. Davis says it represents a sunrise or a new beginning -- like the kind Van Go has given him.
Davis was having a hard time getting along at school when his counselor referred him to Van Go, the local job-training and art program for at-risk young adults. After a year with the nonprofit organization, Davis has gained confidence by pouring himself into his art.
“I see myself in my work, my awkwardness that I am and my different personalities I portray,” Davis said. “So, when people buy my art and can see in it who created this piece and what he is about, I kind of take that to heart.”
His work, along with the outdoor-themed art of his 21 fellow summer Van Go participants, will be auctioned at the 10th annual “What Floats Your Boat” fundraiser from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Clinton Lake Marina.
The event has more than doubled in size over the past decade. The group expects about 600 people to sit at the colorful tables at the outdoor venue. Van Go Development Director Eliza Nichols says the organization's goal is to raise $100,000 at Float Your Boat, the largest fundraiser of the year. About one-third of the group’s finances come from local contributions.
Nichols says she is grateful to the community for supporting the program, which helps Lawrence youth in need of aid.
“We create a safety net for the kids,” Nichols said. “We try to get them on track so they can have a successful work experience in the future and support themselves.”
Local businesses will donate the night’s cuisine. Ingredient will contribute the vegetarian meal option for those who opt out of the night’s barbecue dinner. 23rd Street Brewery, O’Malley Beverage of Kansas and the Community Mercantile will donate drinks for the event.
Following the dinner, “The Groove Agency,” will perform soul music under the stars. Tickets are $75.