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Sea of love

Yoyo Ferro creates art from community at Team Hidi 5.0



<span id="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58911cc639ab46b3144240b8" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}_display" style="display:inline;"><a class="dynavar" onclick="javascript:toggle_dynamic_var("{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58911cc639ab46b3144240b8" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}");" title="Click to edit dynamic variable: {[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58911cc639ab46b3144240b8" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}">No value assigned<span id="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58911cc639ab46b3144240b8" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}_edit" style="display:none;"><input class="input-sm" name="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58911cc639ab46b3144240b8" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}" type="text" value="No value assigned" />In just one evening, Sunday's fifth annual Team Hidi benefit for The Giving Kitchen at American Spirit Works raised well over half a million dollars. The money, which assists members of the Atlanta restaurant industry facing unanticipated crises, isn’t the only thing the evening was about. For most, it is a reminder of the life of renowned Atlanta chef Ryan Hidinger, the community that rallied around him after a cancer diagnosis, and the charity that resulted from his untimely death.







Each year, event founder Jen Hidinger, Ryan’s wife, seeks to create a specific kind of energy in the room. “The fifth anniversary was significant,” she says. “Having something iconic was our goal.”





This year’s theme was Atlanta street art, featuring installations and live art demos from the likes of Killamari, Lela Brunet, Tiny Doors ATL and Yoyo Ferro. Jen asked artists to “recognize and witness the compassion in the room.” With each piece, the goal was to convey the meaning of Team Hidi.





Before this weekend, Yoyo Ferro didn’t know much about The Giving Kitchen, but it didn't take him long to grasp the magic behind it. “This is beautiful,” he told me. “I am so happy to be a part of this. I was so moved.”





<span id="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58911ca457ab46e016f00fdb" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}_display" style="display:inline;"><a class="dynavar" onclick="javascript:toggle_dynamic_var("{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58911ca457ab46e016f00fdb" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}");" title="Click to edit dynamic variable: {[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58911ca457ab46e016f00fdb" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}">No value assigned<span id="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58911ca457ab46e016f00fdb" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}_edit" style="display:none;"><input class="input-sm" name="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58911ca457ab46e016f00fdb" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}" type="text" value="No value assigned" />Beginning with a 36x36-inch wood panel, the self-taught sketch artist illustrated event attendees individually throughout the night with oil-based paint markers. The drawings were loose, without much detail. He began in the top left quarter and six hours later the entire space was filled with the faces of Atlanta’s tight-knit foodie community.





Ferro’s live art station was fun for those watching and participating, as people lined up to be included in the drawing. To put his subjects at ease, he would ask some to tell a story or inquire about their favorite vegetables before committing them to ink. (My radish is in the bottom left quadrant). He picked up each person’s essence beginning with whatever stood out immediately — a bushy beard, a spotted dress. His favorite sketch of the evening was of one chef in the top right corner, wearing an apron and hat. “He was kind of suspicious when we started, then so happy in the end,” says Ferro. “He brought me fried chicken, which made me happy.”





Jen Hidinger is in a couple of spots, as are Ryan’s mom and his sister Kara. Ryan and Jen appear together in the bottom quarter near the artist’s signature.





<span id="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5891211057ab46b444f0101e" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}_display" style="display:inline;"><a class="dynavar" onclick="javascript:toggle_dynamic_var("{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5891211057ab46b444f0101e" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}");" title="Click to edit dynamic variable: {[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5891211057ab46b444f0101e" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}">No value assigned<span id="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5891211057ab46b444f0101e" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}_edit" style="display:none;"><input class="input-sm" name="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5891211057ab46b444f0101e" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}" type="text" value="No value assigned" />The evening also brought out a pretty cool bit of kismet: In the top right corner of Ferro’s drawing is a paper crane painted red and varnished. Ferro put it there because he has long found it a symbol of great positivity — he once folded 1,000 paper cranes and has one tattooed on his right arm. What he didn’t know was that the crane is a talisman for Jen, too. One of the birds perched on the chimney of her house just after Ryan’s death. She took it as a sign and got a crane tattooed on her own right arm in remembrance of her late husband.





Ferro’s finished piece sold for a sizeable amount, much more than expected. The winning bidder was John Keller, a longtime supporter of The Giving Kitchen, who calls the piece “a living reminder of the community’s support.” And he has big plans for it. “It shouldn’t end up in someone’s living room,” says Keller. “I want to put it out where the community can see it.” In this spirit, he donated the piece back to The Giving Kitchen so that it can travel around and be displayed in the places Ryan worked: Staplehouse, Muss and Turner’s, Local Three, Floataway Cafe, Bacchanalia. “Those are where his fingerprints are,” Keller continues. “The idea is that it will be a living reminder of community support.”





A print version of the piece will soon be on sale to the public, with proceeds going to The Giving Kitchen. “Hidi loved hearing the song ‘With a Little Help from my Friends,’” Local Three chef Chris Hall told me as the evening drew to a close. “That is just what the piece represents.”

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