Pat Burns remembers the nervous excitement of launching ARTcetera with her team at the Miller-Dwan Foundation. It was 1999 and the Foundation, with its history of high impact medical philanthropy, needed a boost for its efforts to support life-saving treatments and therapies in the region.
“What if no one comes?” says Pat, who served as president of the Foundation from until 2013. “It was a risk and thank God it worked.”
It worked well. So well, in fact, that the annual gala became the region’s signature event of its kind, raising more than $3 million dollars over 20 years of consecutive parties.
The one-night event has rotated to different themed settings in Duluth each year. And consistently featured chef-led dining, live and silent auctions, and the chance to dress to the nines, mingle and make a serious difference in the region’s health.
“Many of our guests look forward to coming to ARTcetera each year…it’s their favorite event. Every year is fun and exciting, and also meaningful,” says Traci Marciniak, the Foundation’s current President. “With the support of our guests, we’ve been able to drastically transform healthcare in our region. What is better than knowing that you are changing peoples’ lives for the better and having a good time doing it?”
Over the years, there have been more than a few surprises that stick in people’s memories—and taught us all lessons along the way. One year a live bald eagle was a special guest to help promote a live auction item. On stage, the eagle was so stunning and majestic, until he did what all animals do—poop. Luckily a guest was quick to react and cleaned up the mess with a dinner napkin. The DECC staff disposed of that napkin that very night. The lesson learned? Don’t invite live, wild animals to ARTcetera.
ARTcetera has featured celebrities such as Judy Collins and Mariel Hemingway sharing their stories of personal and family health care challenges. All to help guests and the community understand that no one is immune to the struggles that impaired health presents.
Now, in many ways, it’s like ARTcetera is launching anew.
“2020 has presented challenges to every person and every organization. We recognize how all consuming COVID, racial injustice, natural disasters, and other issues have been for people. But we also recognize the need for healthcare has not diminished. In fact, mental health care may be more important than ever when you think about the stress, anxiety, and depression that kids and adults are feeling right now.” Says Marciniak.
Proceeds from this year’s event will grow substance use (SUD) care for kids at Amberwing. After witnessing the increasing number of kids admitted to Amberwing with concerning substance use patterns, the Amberwing team knew something needed to be done. By offering a new, dual-diagnosis treatment program that deals with substance abuse and mental health simultaneously, staff can help kids address their issues at a point when significant change can still be made.
In our area, there is a shortage of clinicians trained to provide substance use intervention and care. This new dual-diagnosis program has been designed with a clinician training program component. This will allow Amberwing to train future LICSW students to provide care in our region, effectively increasing the availability of care for kids.
“Here is a chance for all of us to step forward again and make a difference for our kids,” says Marciniak. “This year, you’ll hear from kids whose lives have been saved because of Amberwing. You can also bid on fabulous items, make a gift to support the new substance use program, all while wearing your pajama pants if you want!