MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Valentine heart auction that started in our WMC Action News 5 studio celebrates its 25th anniversary on Saturday night, February 4 at the Memphis College of Art.
Noted artists such as Dolph Smith, John L. McIntire and Carol Buchman donate clever heart themed creations that are sold by silent auction in the lobby of the College of Art. The event is a major fundraiser for the Child Advocacy Center, a one stop shop where children who are victims of sexual or severe physical abuse receive compassionate care and counseling.
The Shelby County Child Protection Investigation Team is based at the center. It includes the Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff's Office as well as representatives from all the municipal police agencies in Shelby County. In addition, all the local, state and federal agencies that can investigate child abuse are represented.
The Shelby County District Attorney General and other agencies have permanent staff dedicated to the center. This way, a child can share his or her story in a carefully crafted, comfortable setting with a trained professional as investigators can listen via closed circuit video. The dozens of hearts donated by artists --- or "Heartists" as they're known at this event--- are exceptional.
The 2016 presidential election inspired two of the pieces. Tricia Franklin incorporated a U.S. Flag theme on her contribution, entitled "U.S. Together." Stephen Crump created a map of the United States with red and blue states represented by their 2016 votes for the Republican or Democratic candidates. Crump's sculpture features a representation of President Donald Trump --- hair and all --- with arms that spin.
This event moved from our WMC studio to Oak Court Mall and Wolfchase Galleria before finally settling into its home for years now, the gallery lobby of Memphis College of Art.