When speaking about topics close to one’s heart, sometimes passion makes up for polish.
Michael Collins, marketing and promotions director for Special Care Inc., might not blow anyone away with his presentations, but when he starts to talk about the program that helps children, good luck finding anyone with his level of passion.
“Some people get up there and talk with this amazing, polished presentation,” he said. “I just talk from my heart.”
He’s too modest to say it, but that tactic is remarkably effective. What he feels he lacks in polish he more than makes up for in zeal.
Special Care is a nonprofit organization devoted to the care and education of children with and without special needs. With a unique combination of onsite therapies and group classroom activities, Special Care integrates special needs children with children who are developing at a normal rate.
“These [normally developing] children and their level of compassion and understanding at such a formative age — that’s where I see a difference,” Collins said.
Christie Owen is the vice president of Fringe — an Oklahoma City women’s art collective — and a longtime friend of Collins. She became involved with Special Care when she helped coordinate an art therapy program for the children of the organization. Wings of Art is the product of brainstorming about how to raise money and include local artists to combine two causes Owen and Collins are passionate about.
“We’re a nonprofit in Oklahoma in the education sector,” Collins said. “It’s an understatement to say funds are hard to come by.”
In November, Owen used her connections with Fringe to put out a call for artists and began the process of selecting the pieces that would be included in the sale — a juried selection of over 35 pieces selected from nearly 60 submissions.
The jury consisted of Owen, local gallery owner and artist Stephen Kovash and artist Cynthia Curry. Kovash also provided his art space, Istvan Gallery, to host the event.
Owen and Collins decided to let the artists determine how much they would contribute to Special Care, whether they chose to simply recover the cost of producing the artwork or donate all of it. With everyone participating on a volunteer basis, the cost of the event has been kept to a minimum, and all money raised will go directly to help Special Care or the participating artists.
The gala will be all-inclusive, with valet service, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. There will also be a full bar and live entertainment from a special guest, and patrons can bid on art created by local artists.