Bill Walton, former NBA star, basketball Hall of Famer and avid art collector, will host the event to benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation at Colosseum Fine Arts.
“This event gives the sports world and the arts world the chance to come together to make a difference in a big way,” he said. “And to have the ability to combine all the elements that are important to my life — San Diego, creativity, the Challenged Athletes Foundation and art — is a really special opportunity.”
Walton became involved in the fundraising event when he was approached by longtime friend and Colosseum owner Richard Sertucha about collaborating on an art show. Walton said he would, under one condition: that the show involve some kind of charity benefactor. And thus, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) arts fundraiser was born.
Now in its second year, the event will feature the art of several local artists, including Sean Dietrich, Danny Day and female boxer/painter Danyelle Wolf. Dietrich, known for his work in the comic book genre, will produce a work of art during a live painting demonstration during the event. A portion of proceeds from all artwork sold during the event will be donated to CAF.
Sertucha said that although he’s held several fundraisers at his gallery and been involved in numerous charitable events, this one has the ability to affect him in a whole new way.
“It’s so rewarding to be here with Bill and all the [athletes],” he said. “Nothing has ever inspired me in the same way this does. It’s one of those nights that just gives me goosebumps.”
Last year, Colosseum donated roughly $15,000 to CAF, and Floyd Elmore, the gallery’s co-owner, gave $10,000 out of his own pocket. This year, Sertucha said, the gallery has pledged almost $30,000 worth of artwork to the foundation, and he hopes the fundraiser pulls in record donations.
“This is just really a cause to get behind,” he said. “As I’ve gotten older, I just want to try to do as much good as I can.”
Walton echoed Sertucha’s drive to give back. His desire to help those who have faced challenges in their lives, he said, comes from a personal place.
“I’ve had 36 orthopedic operations. I have two fused ankles, wrists and knees that don’t work and a fused spine. Two years ago, I was told that the amputation of my lower leg was a distinct possibility. Other than that, everything’s just fine,” he joked. “At the end of the day, we’re all challenged athletes. Some of us just don’t know it yet.”
From 6 to 9 p.m., guests can view the art, hear Walton speak about CAF and his own experiences and even get his autograph. Everyone, Walton said, is encouraged to “come down and make a difference and be part of something special.”
“This is really what our lives are about,” he said. “With privilege and success comes responsibility — a duty to give back and give someone else the chance and opportunity that so many of us take for granted. I know full well how many people have helped me, and I’m so excited to be a part of something truly great.
“If you care about life, health, sports, art and other people, you’ll want to be there. We’ll rock the house.”
Colosseum Fine Arts is located at 7946 Ivanhoe Ave., Suite 102. For more information, call (619) 795-3704 or visit www.colosseumfinearts.com.