Using creativity and hair for a fundraiser that’s a cut aboveAbby Holfrichter It was a rainy Friday night on the east side of Dayton and there I stood, wearing a wig made of faux flower petals stacked over a foot tall and a face of sticky, stark white makeup. I was about to walk down a lighted runway in front of almost 300 people.
SKETCH the art of giving is marketed as a night of creative fun and entertainment. The ticketed event includes a runway hair show, live art and auctions, and live music performances in addition to food and beverage from local restaurants and bars.
Sketch got its start in 2015 when Jane Snyder, development director for Brigid’s Path, sat in a salon chair at Square One Salon and Spa and talked about her life, just like any other trip to the salon.
“I was immediately interested,” Libby Miller remembers.
Miller is a master level stylist at Square One Salon and Spa and had been doing Snyder’s hair for years when the two started talking about creating a new, unique fundraiser for Brigid’s Path, the Kettering-based nonprofit that provides inpatient medical care for drug-exposed newborns and nonjudgmental support and advocacy to improve family outcomes.
The result was an over-the-top, creative runway hair show that encourages the Square One Salon team to stretch their creative abilities and talents as stylists.
“It’s fun to show people and show then that hair is a piece of art,” Miller remarks. “You get to surprise people and create that sense of wonder of ‘how did they do that?’”
The event also provides a chance to feature other Dayton creatives through what Sketch calls “art in action.” Live artists are stationed around the room for the duration of the night, drawing and painting pieces of art from the hair show and event itself. The finished pieces and other local art are auctioned off at the end of the night.
The marriage of so many creative minds often yields unexpected, exciting outcomes. For example, Chris Newman, owner of Cheeky Monkey Decorative Painting, who painted the Brigid’s Path nursery room, was one of the artists to create a final auction piece—a large portrait of an event attendee.
“I’m proud of it from the standpoint that from the venue to the art and the partnerships, it truly offers something unique and different,” Snyder says.
Each year, Miller and the Square One Salon and Spa team choose a different theme for which the participating hairstylists will design one to three hairstyles that will walk down the runway for the main event.
“Picking the theme is about finding something that will let the stylists use their own creativity while still bringing it back to Brigid’s Path,” Miller explains.
The 2019 theme, fears and phobias, gave artists an opportunity to have a little creative fun with the impending Halloween holiday while also supporting a deeper, more meaningful message tied to Brigid’s Path’s mission and the city of Dayton.
“It’s been such a fearful year for Dayton overall,” Miller says. “And there can also be some fear around unfortunate or sad topics like the struggles that affect the babies that Brigid’s Path helps, but I think it’s always important to remember we need to face our fears rather than hide away from them.”
Previous themes include futuristic and circus sideshow, a theme chosen to highlight the number of different moving parts involved in making the night work.
“(Libby) just kind of gets the big picture,” Snyder says. “This can be a very serious topic but we truly believe that our mission is one of hope.”
The event, hosted by M Concrete Studios at their industrial showroom 730 Lorain Ave., began in 2016 with Miller doing the majority of the organizing and relying on the Square One team to volunteer not only as stylists and makeup artists, but to run food and drink booths.
The first year yielded about 75 guests and a gift of approximately $6,000 to Brigid’s Path. In 2018, that number had grown to 350 guests and a $62,000 donation, according to Snyder, with Brigid’s Path, Square One, and M Concrete providing a number of volunteers. While the 2019 numbers have yet to be announced, Snyder and Miller are confident the guest list was close to the previous year.
So as my turn approached and I could see the bustling room waiting beyond the heavy black curtain I stood a little taller, careful not to let my wig topple over, and stepped out. Walking through hoards of creative Dayton individuals dressed like a character from author Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games to, as Brigid’s Path mission states, offer grace for the past, support for the present and hope for the future.
To learn more about Brigid’s Path head to brigidspath.org and keep and eye out for the next SKETCH the art of giving in fall of 2020.