Inspired by the challenges Kat Williams is facing, and the strength with which she is facing them, Wendy Whitson has donated a custom signature piece of art to be auctioned off at the “Save Kat Williams Fundraiser” Sunday, Aug. 21 from 5 – 8pm at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Asheville.
“This is the most important piece I have ever done, and I am honored and humbled to be able to help another artist in this way,” said Whitson. “In much of my art, you will find music interwoven in the trunks of trees. The inspiration I got when I thought about the monumental challenge Kat is facing took me to weave Kat’s favorite song, ‘Amazing Grace’ – the music and the lyrics – into the trees.”
Kat Williams, the iconic Asheville-based blues and jazz singer, is battling End Stage (stage 5) kidney disease. Her kidney function has decreased to 13 percent, making it impossible for her to perform, and putting her on a critical path to get on a list for a kidney transplant if a donor match can be found. She recently underwent the first of three testing visits at Emory University in Atlanta, GA in hopes of getting her on the transplant list soon. The goal of the “Save Kat” campaign is to: find a donor; assist Williams with transportation and lodging to and from Emory Hospital in Atlanta and Duke University Hospital; and help with medical costs of the transplant, anti-rejection medicines, and living expenses so she can return to serving the community.
The signature piece, entitled “Amazing Grace” will be available in auction at Sunday’s event.
Whitson is a North Carolina native and a graduate of East Carolina University with a degree in Fine Art. She worked in the fields of graphic design and photography for many years, before coming full circle to painting. She moved from Atlanta, GA to Asheville in 1999 and in 2002 rented a studio in Warehouse Studios in the River Arts District.
She has worked as a volunteer for the RADArtists in some capacity since May 2002, and served as President of the organization from May 2011 through December 2012. Wendy has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce since 2008, and in 2009, was invited and honored to serve on the Board of Directors through July 2012. In 2015 she was invited to serve through 2017. Wendy is currently serving as a member of BB&T’s Advisory Board of Directors, and is a Board Member of the the River Arts District Artists.
She is a member of First Baptist Church, and lives in North Asheville with her husband, Dr. John Davis, a Psychology Instructor at AB Tech, and their pet cat, Zoe.
Whitson’s work is in many private and corporate collections including Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain, the Four Seasons, Jackson Hole, WY, the Ritz Carlton, Shenzehn, China and the Biltmore Estate, here in Asheville. Her original paintings are available through The Wells Gallery at the Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, SC, and her studio in the River Arts District www.riverdistrictartists.com.
In April of 2011, Wendy and her husband purchased a building on Depot Street, now named NorthLight Studios. www.northlightstudiosasheville.com. They converted it to studio space for several artists including herself.
Tickets for the fundraiser are $20 and may be purchased in advance at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/save-kat-williams-fund-raiser-tickets-26906310499. Tickets will be available at the door. You also may visit https://www.youcaring.com/kat-williams-596367 to offer a special donation.