The Cascade AIDS Project took a lot of heat last year when it moved its annual "Art for Life" fundraiser from Montgomery Park to the more sterile-feeling Oregon Convention Center. This year CAP renamed the event "Chiaroscuro" and improved the floor plan, imparting a better flow to the layout of art displays, food stations and open bars for the 1,200 revelers who attended. The result was what felt like the best CAP event in years. From a financial standpoint, the event raised more than $600,000, trouncing its orginal $500,000 goal. The food is always a highlight of CAP's events, and this year was no exception; Screen Door's pulled-pork sandwich with coleslaw was the evening's yummiest offering.

Artistic highlights included Beth Myrick's elephants and boomboxes spray-painted onto vinyl LPs; Dave Wilson's neo-primitivist Watering Hole; Dan Ness' Twombly-meets-Warhol Marlene Dietrich, and Todd Kurtzman's Gilded Chocolate Fondue Thumb. Shannon Ray's Terra Infirma and Barry Mack's Flow, Structure, and Balance were hung side by side and gave object lessons in the seep-and-weep of lavalike paint, while Kirk Botero and Tore Djupedal took on abstraction with more painterly tacks. Ted Sawyer's kiln-formed glass History finessed the sfumato between blood-orange and rust; Mickey Weaver's rough-edged print explored indigo on the verge of periwinkle; and Benjamin Stagl's creased Mylar gave off a silvery, highly reflective glamor. One of the most pleasing abstractions of the night came courtesy of Kandy Lozano, whose untitled encaustic on panel stretched out in a luxuriant horizontal shape, dripping and circling white and aqua, intuiting geometry within miasma. Disappointingly, there were far too many worthy pieces in the silent auction that received no bids whatsoever. Blame it on artists' minimum bids being too high and collectors' pockets being too shallow.

CAP benefits HIV prevention, awareness, treatment and support services and is one of the area's most beloved nonprofits. Three cheers to them for the work they do, and for providing a feast for the eyes and palate.

For more information about CAP's programs, visit