James Bacchi is co-owner of ArtHaus Gallery in San Francisco, CA. He also recently served as the co-juror for the Manhattan Arts International “Hot Topics – Bold Expressions” online exhibition. James generously contributes his time and expertise to many art projects and worthy causes, among them as a volunteer, juror, advisor and host committee member for Art For AIDS.
Most of this article originally appeared in an article about James Bacchi written by D.K. Haas and is used with Haas’ permission. The article “Volunteer Spotlight: James Bacchi” can be read in its entirety on the UCSF Alliance Heath Project website.
When the AIDS epidemic hit, Bacchi co-owned On The Wall Gallery, an art gallery in New York’s East Village. “One by one, friends and associates were getting sick,” he remembered, “were in and out of the hospital, getting better, getting worse and so many died.”
Bacchi moved to San Francisco in 1993 and opened ArtHaus Gallery with his new best friend and business partner, Annette Schutz. Not long after, Bacchi was brought into Art for AIDS by founder Ellen Sherrod during an opening at ArtHaus. He did his research, and liked that the event was started by artists responding to the AIDS epidemic. He especially liked that AHP provides services free to clients.
After a year on the Art for AIDS planning committee, Bacchi joined the Art for AIDS jury. Today, that’s what gives him the most satisfaction. “As far as art juries go, this is the best mix ever. It’s a wonderful assembly . . . consisting of an art critic, an art advisor, artists, curators, collectors and gallery owners. That diversity is unique in regards to art juries.” Bacchi describes the jury process with affection. “I love . . . the way the group argues and fusses and fights about art. As a result, the caliber of work that ends up at this auction is the best. I just love the array of reactions.”
The Art for AIDS jury process offers artists who donate their work “a rare opportunity to have their art in front of many influential experts,” Bacchi says. At the same time, Bacchi suggests to artists, “Don’t donate to Art for AIDS unless it’s your best work.”
AHP’s Art for AIDS jury coordinator, Lisa Roth, tells us what the humble Bacchi won’t say himself, “James Bacchi is the go-to guy when I need advice about anything art-related: who’s who in the art world, top quality framing, using social media to promote Art for AIDS, the list goes on. If it’s cool Bacchi already knows it. If Bacchi doesn’t know it, it’s probably not that cool!” Bacchi has also donated countless works to the auction and offers ArtHaus to host AHP fundraisers and artist and sponsor engagement events.
Roth says, “James has brought his enthusiasm, sage advice, and indomitable spirit to Art for AIDS for almost a decade. We couldn’t do it without him.”
Art For AIDS 2015 Honors Rex Ray
The 19th Annual Art For AIDS benefiting the UCSF Alliance Health Project, will take place October 9, 2015. Every year Art For AIDS connects a creative community of artists, galleries, art donors and art patrons, sponsors and media.
Last year Art for AIDS raised more than $305,000. Proceeds support AHP’s HIV-related work “to both reduce the spread of HIV disease and help people living with HIV.”
This year Art For AIDS will honor the late artist Rex Ray in recognition for his support and generosity. As stated on the Art For AIDS website, “Rex always gave back—donating his work to arts organizations and benefits throughout the city, particularly Art for AIDS.”
Rex Ray’s contribution to art and design has been described as inspired and prolific. His hand-cut creations are iconic. whose collages, paintings and design work have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, including the The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, University Art Museum in Berkeley, San Jose Museum of Modern Art, and many more. He was also well known for having designed over 100 concert posters for Bill Graham Presents, including for shows by The Rolling Stones, Patti Smith, REM, Bjork, U2, and Radiohead.
Since 1984 UCSF Alliance Heath Project (AHP) has been at the forefront of HIV care and prevention when they began working with patients and providers at San Francisco General Hospital “to help them cope with the emotional and mental health impact of the AIDS crisis.”
The mission of of AHP is “to support the mental health and wellness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities in constructing healthy and meaningful lives.” It continues to develop new approaches and innovate established interventions. It is now San Francisco’s primary city-funded mental health clinic for the LGBTQ community.
For more information about UCSF Alliance Heath Project visit www.ucsf-ahp.org
For more information about the Art for AIDS Benefit visit www.artforaids.org.
For more information about James Bacchi and ArtHaus Gallery visit www.arthaus-sf.com