Despite the blizzard and a one night postponement, the two were surrounded by hundreds of friends and supporters Sunday at their “Art for the Open Heart.” The fundraiser at Hartford’s ArtSpace Gallery was planned weeks ago to help the couple with an estimated $42,000 in uninsured medical costs they will incur when Tao has unexpected heart valve replacement surgery at Hartford Hospital later this month.
“We were overwhelmed by how many people managed to come,” said any Amy LaBoissiere about the turnout at the fundraiser which included food, entertainment and a raffle. More than 350 people came, and about $10,000 was raised at the event that included, food entertainment and a raffle.
“We had a soft opening Saturday,” she said, about a more informal get-together on the original that included mostly people who lived in Hartford and could walk to the Asylum Street building. “We had about 40 people including some who just broke the law and drove here,” she said, alluding to the weather-related driving ban imposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Saturday. “The support is all unbelievable.”
“I had tears in my eyes as I posted thanks to everyone online,” said Tao LaBoissiere, a volunteer exhibit coordinator at ArtSpace who is well-known for his murals that grace several area restaurants. “It’s hard to put into words the feeling from so much community support.”
And while the two were caught up in the excitement of the fundraiser Sunday night, when the clock struck midnight, it was another poignant heart-related moment as they celebrated the start of their first anniversary.
DJ Jon Eastman took the moment to spin Adele’s cover version of “Make You Feel My Love,” the song the couple danced to on their wedding day.
“It was perfect,” said Amy LaBoissiere.
The “Art for the Open Heart” continues Wednesday and Thursday with some pieces still for sale, the two noted. There will be potluck dinner Friday to mark the end of the exhibition.
“We just want people to come by,” said Amy LaBoissiere, noting that any art that has still not been sold byFriday may still be sold on an online auction.