Art of Chocolate event returns to Art Museum

The 10th annual Art of Chocolate gala will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the IU Art Museum.

The event features hors d’oeuvres, chocolate desserts and beverages from local vendors including Scholars Inn, Malibu Grill, Oliver Winery and Peacetree Mountain Truffles.

Pre-sale tickets cost $35 for students and $40 for the general public. All tickets cost $50 at the door.

Proceeds from Art of Chocolate benefit LIFEDesigns, a local nonprofit that serves children and adults with disabilities.

Leslie Abshier, community development officer for LIFEDesigns, said this is the organization’s only large-scale fundraiser and means of supporting their continuing education and employment services.

Abshier said the continuing education program allows individuals to learn personal finance, cooking and public transportation, among other life skills.

LIFEDesigns also helps people with disabilities find and maintain jobs, build resumes and prepare for interviews.

“People should live as independently as they want to,” Abshier said. “Most people don’t want to be taken care of, they want to do things for themselves. Our goal is to partner with them to make their dreams a reality.”

Art of Chocolate will also feature entertainment from vocalist and IU alumnus Rusty Shields.

In honor of the 10th anniversary, Abshier said entertainers from past years will make appearances.

Abshier said she is most looking forward to the special guest, Del Sroufe, who is known for his vegan cooking and cookbook “Forks Over Knives.”

“The special guest is always a lot of fun,” Abshier said. “It’ll be very interesting how he can talk about vegan cooking at a chocolate event.”

At Art of Chocolate, Sroufe will feature recipes from his new book, “Better Than Vegan.”

The event also includes a silent auction.

Abshier said in addition to usual prizes like tickets for the following year’s Art of Chocolate, this year’s auction contains works by local artists.

Proceeds from the silent auction are split between LIFEDesigns and the artists, which Abshier said allows the two to help each other.

“We know that a lot of artists are struggling to make it,” she said. “It works really well, they get more invested in the event.”

Sunday’s event is part of the annual Week of Chocolate, which begins Saturday and ends Feb. 1.

Each day, a chocolate-themed event will benefit a different local nonprofit.

Abshier said LIFEDesigns began the weeklong festival several years before the single Art of Chocolate fundraiser as a way to engage the community.

“It’s pretty cool that it’s a community-wide event,” she said. “We figured, who doesn’t like chocolate?”

Follow reporter Alyssa Schor on Twitter @SchorAlyssa.

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