Cancer Fighters, Quick on the Draw

Artists Against Cancer celebrates this weekend

Cancer Fighters, Quick on the Draw

It's no secret that there's little help out there for anyone sick in the creative industries. But newly-minted local charity Artists Against Cancer is hoping to take the financial sting out of chemo and rehab, with a hog-guzzling, art-auctioning event this weekend in Watson.

Taking a quick break from helping to organize the event, Rachel Citron with Powerhouse Animation explained, "The goal was simply to raise money for Austin-area artists that are going through cancer treatment and the accompanying issues." The idea began last July, after Citron's colleague Cindy Crowell, an animator at Powerhouse, was diagnosed with cancer. Citron said, "Even though we have company-sponsored health insurance, she was really worried."

Powerhouse CEO Brad Graeber and his wife Mandy lead the charge. First there was a benefit screening of Captain America, followed last October by the Rock Against Cancer live music benefit at the ND (complete with performances by the Flametrick Subs and Good Music Club faves Guns of Navarone.) December saw a major art auction at Thunderbird Coffee (including pieces by comic and gaming icon Joe Maduiera, the Austin Modern Quilt Guild, and photographer and Chronicle pal Brandon Bollom. Citron said, "The nice thing is, especially when you are talking to other artists about what the cause is, then they're really eager to help."

Less than a year after that first event, the group has covered a host of Crowell's costs, and have just received non-profit status. "That took a while," said Citron, "just because the IRS is really backed up, but we are officially a 501(c)3 so all donations are tax deductible." So now they are expanding their horizons, and later this summer they will be looking for more applicants to support, "anyone that works in the arts, anyone that works in any creative field."

As for this weekend's event, it will be their most ambitious to date. Citron said, "Basically we're just having a big afternoon party that's going to involve food and music and another big auction." It's not just art on the block: "Nolan Ryan signed a bunch of memorabilia that he signed," said Citron, plus there's a poster for the upcoming Battleship signed by Friday Night Lights/John Carter star Taylor Kitsch and a whole bucketload of donations from Round Rock Express and Texas Rangers.

Artists Against Cancer Whole Hog Spring Kickoff, Rocky Creek Ranch, Watson. April 21, 4-9pm. $45, includes cocktails, live music and hog roast.

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Artists Against Cancer, Charity Events, Powerhouse Animation

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