The House of RAD, 900 E. Keefe Ave., is fighting hunger with art on Friday, Nov. 3, from 7-11 p.m., with the 19th annual Feed Your Soul. The event offers local businesses, organizations and individuals the opportunity to play a part in helping provide food for under-served residents.
"We exist to prevent empty plates and hungry stomachs," said Brandon Minga, House of RAD's owner and one of Feed Your Soul's organizers.
"With the help of a small army of community members and local businesses," said Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin's event manager, Jessecca Miller, "[we all] work together to execute the Feed Your Soul committee’s creative vision on event night."
The event will feature over 50 artists who will actively create prints, drawings, paintings and sculptures live throughout the evening. Additionally, many completed artworks will also be displayed around the premises.
All pieces can be bid on by the general public in a silent auction throughout the evening, with proceeds benefiting Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.
Minga hopes to pump up the spectacle around the event as well, offering an unforgetably dazzling experience. (And if previous years are any indication, he should succeed.)
"The House of RAD space will be transformed with dramatic lighting and music, enhanced by a VJ experience featuring a projection-mapped area of the event space. Plus fire dancers and aerial performances, larger-than-life stilt-walking birds, mingling drag queens and much more throughout the night," Minga said.
You can get tickets to Feed Your Soul here.
The immersive and entertaining spectacles are a far cry from Minga's initial involvement with Feed Your Soul eight years ago.
"I started volunteering by collecting cans and emptying the trash," he said.
After his humble beginnings, he eventually found himself on the planning committee, volunteering through the now-defunct Flux Design. In 2019, upon opening the doors to the House of RAD, Minga noted, "It was a pretty natural transition into hosting the event."
Since then, the House of RAD has picked up and moved down the way twice, expanding each time. And this year the House has expanded even more, though thankfully staying at the same address this time.
Since its inception, Feed Your Soul has raised over $1 million, which has helped to provide over four million meals.
"Feed Your Soul makes me feel proud to be a Milwaukeean," said Miller. "The project brings together the most creative people in our city, for a mission that’s bigger than all of us. Artists know all too well how challenging it can be to make ends meet, yet here they are – giving back to their community."
It's not all charity, too.
"We are very proud to say that we are paying our live artists and entertainers," Minga said. "While we are open to all in-kind donations, we know that without our talented artists and entertainers we wouldn't have an event as special as this."
This year the goal is to raise $150,000 for Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.
"Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin believes that together we are solving hunger," said Miller. "Feed Your Soul exemplifies the power of community and grassroots action. The money raised through this event goes directly to purchasing food that feeds children, seniors, students and families who might not otherwise know where their next meal is coming from. This event is also a 'friend-raiser.' Folks who come out to support the arts community learn all about their local food bank, and why these resources are so important."
For more information or to get tickets, visit fysmke.com.
Can't make it to the event? You can still bid in the auction virtually on the night of the event.
Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.
In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.
Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.