(photo by David Pisarra)

I like art. I frequently am confused by it, inspired by it, appalled at what passes for “good” and more often than not, I can’t afford the works I like. Turns out I’m not the only one who likes art, or good food for that matter. This past Sunday was the Art for CLARE fundraiser at Bergamot Station. There were hundreds of people at this sixth annual event which featured food from Melisse, City Tavern, Mantilini Catering, El Cholo, Global Cuisine and celebrity chef Mary Gilmer of All That Is Good Catering. Desserts were from the always amazing Nothing Bundt Cakes. There were baked donuts by Fonuts. Urth Café provided coffee and cakes as well beverages by Lemonade.

CLARE is a recovery center that does a great deal of good in the city helping people turn their lives around from a life of drug and alcohol abuse. They have programs for men, women, and the hearing impaired.

The fundraiser this year was co-chaired by Meredith Baxter and Linde Caughey who did a bang-up job finding great food providers. The Art Selection Committee had the two co-chairs and Jena King, David Limrite and Eve Rappoport who found many great artists to donate their works to benefit the CLARE Foundation.

There was a great selection of art from airbrushed surfboards by Jeff Ho to hand-knitted aluminum wire by Dameon Lester in the form of a rock pile that was truly amazing to me. My friend Chris Rohloff donated a print from his father Grant Rohloff of Mike Kynson circa 1962 surfing in Hawaii. Rohloff’s photographic history of surfing is a local treasure and I’m lucky to know his son, and see his father’s artwork.

As usual, I wandered around Bergamot Station and had the opportunity to find other great artists that are on display there, and if you have a chance I highly recommend a perusal, it’s where I found this mosaic dog that I would love to own. I liked it so much I tweeted about it on my Twitter feed @WhatAboutWally.

These events always have a silent auction, and that is actually how I was invited. My friend Allen King, who operates Aqua Surf School donated some surf lessons, and had an extra ticket, so I was able to ride his coattails into this event (as a divorce and child custody lawyer, I’m not often asked to donate to silent auctions, no one wants to bid on a divorce I guess). The selection of auction items was quite impressive this year, with timeshares being made available, lessons of all types, a signed football and spa specials.

I have a special place in my heart for organizations that reach out and save lives that are at risk due to drugs and alcohol. My brother drank himself to death and watching a life that once burned so bright fall into the darkness that is drug and alcohol addiction is painful and heart wrenching. My own childhood was marred by my parents abuse of alcohol. In my career as a divorce lawyer I regularly am either fighting against allegations that my clients are alcoholics and abusing drugs, or I’m arguing that the other side has a problem and needs help.

The world of recovery options has grown significantly since I was a boy. Today we have access to programs for food, gambling, sex, nicotine, and a host of other “issues.” The reason we have those resources is thanks to the tireless and frequently thankless work of people who put on events such as Art for CLARE.

Lives have been saved and immeasurably improved thanks to the efforts of the many volunteers who put on this year’s event. And I, for one, say “thank you.”

David Pisarra is a Divorce lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or (310) 664-9969.

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