Western North Carolina AIDS Project
Contact: Pam Siekman, Raise Your Hand Event Chair, pamsiekman@earthlink.net, 335-6680
For Immediate Release: July 13, 2011

Asheville, NC - WNCAP's annual Raise Your Hand Signature Piece competition concluded on Friday, July 8th and the winner by unanimous vote was Constance Vlahoulis of Hendersonville, for her mixed media oil on canvas entitled “Hope Rising.”  (image at right, available for download from www.wncap.org/ryh)
Jurors for the competition were Dawn Rentz, 2010 Signature Piece winner; Jerry Johnson, publisher of the Laurel of Asheville; and Susan Holden, art collector and art museum tour director.   Vlahoulis' painting features poppies, the flower known for remembrance.  She says the painting symbolizes remembrance for those who have died of AIDS, and a hopeful look forward to the day when the fight against AIDS is over. 
Second place went to Nathaniel Galka from Gallery Minerva, for his painting entitled “Lilly.”  Third place was awarded to Stephen St.Claire from the River Arts District, for his painting entitled  “Requiem Eterna.”  
The Signature Piece becomes the cornerstone for advertising Raise Your Hand, which is scheduled for Saturday, September 24th at the Doubletree Hotel, Biltmore.  For over 20 years WNCAP has invited WNC residents to “raise a hand” to help those living with HIV / AIDS. 
“The auction is a great opportunity to make a donation and take home a treasure as a symbol and reminder that you made a difference in someone’s life” says Pam Siekman, Raise Your Hand Chairperson and WNCAP Board Member. There will be a vast selection of fine local art, wines, trips, antiques and much more available in both silent and live auctions.
“This year’s event is going to be the best one yet,” says Siekman.  "We have partnered once again with Eric Scheffer of Dining Innovations and Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian; Joe Scully of Corner Kitchen; Michel Baudouin of Bouchon; and Anthony Cerrato of Fiore’s.  These four local chefs plan to create a culinary experience that patrons will never forget." 
There is great excitement building as WNCAP prepares for this event.  This year marks the 30th anniversary of HIV / AIDS, and WNCAP is going all out to capture the hearts and minds of this community. 
The theme for Raise Your Hand this year is “Works of Heart” – a message of compassion that reflects the generosity of volunteers, donors, contributors, and ordinary people who stand together in the fight against AIDS.  
The Honorary Chair for Raise Your Hand is Dr. Polly E. Ross, Medical Director of WNC Community Health Services.  Dr. Ross was one of the first female physicians at the forefront in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Recognizing the contribution Dr. Ross has made to the WNC community is a tribute to her compassion and commitment to helping those with HIV / AIDS to live full and healthy lives.  Dr. Ross graduated from Wake Forest School of Medicine in 1989.
WNCAP is the leading HIV/AIDS service organization in Western North Carolina.  The agency provides prevention education and outreach to those who are at risk, as well as advocacy, and case management services to those who are living with HIV/AIDS. 
If you would like to donate an item to the auction, purchase a ticket, become a volunteer, or learn more about WNCAP please visit www.wncap.org/ryh or contact the WNCAP office at 828-252-7489.
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Western North Carolina AIDS Project • 554 Fairview Rd. • Asheville, NC 28803
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