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WNCAP’s Raise Your Hand Auction and Gala Photo by

Photo by Cathy Deweese

The Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP) will hold its annual Raise Your Hand Auction and Gala on Saturday, September 23, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Asheville Event Centre. Dinner from local restaurant Strada Italiano and cocktails will be followed by silent and live auctions. Items up for auction include original local artworks, handmade jewelry, dinner packages, vacation getaways and antique collections.

All proceeds will benefit WNCAP, which provides regional HIV/ AIDS services, including prevention, education, patient advocacy, case management and transportation. This year’s signature piece is titled Red is Feeling Brave, a painting submitted by local artist Linda Gritta.

“I am thrilled and honored to have my artwork representing this year’s WNCAP Gala,” says Gritta. “They are a rock-solid organization that makes a direct and positive impact on those with HIV/AIDS, as well as educating the general public through their outreach programs.”

The jurors for this year’s competition were Constance Williams (2016 Signature Piece winner), Virginia Derryberry (College Art Association’s 2017 Distinguished Professor of Art, UNC Asheville emeritus) and Erin Kellem (artist and curating manager of Woolworth Walk’s F.W. Gallery). WNCAP received 13 submissions from across Western North Carolina, all of which will be displayed and auctioned at the gala. First runner up in the competition this year was Spencer Herr for Beginning, and second runner up was Colleen Webster for The Drum Circle.

“The colors and feel of Red is Feeling Brave made me think of the fall harvest, indigenous cultures and native flavors,” says chef Anthony Cerrato of Strada Italiano, who is planning the menu for his third year of catering for this special event. “I want to fuse culturally historic flavors with new ones using ingredients such as pumpkin, corn, local mountain trout, bison and so much more.”

The gala continues to be one of the largest fundraisers for WNCAP, which is now in its 29th year. Returning as a host, Andrew Brunk, president of Brunk Auctions, will encourage patrons to bid often and bid well. This year’s honorary chair is local attorney and former Buncombe County commissioner David Gantt, who has been providing services to injured and disabled people of Western North Carolina for the last 30 years. His dedication to community and environmental health have earned him this year’s position.

The Asheville Event Centre is located at 291 Sweeten Creek Road. For more information or to purchase tickets visit

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