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Photos: Chucks & Tux gala brings out Birmingham to celebrate students’ artwork

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Photos by Stephonia Taylor McLinn 
Times Staff Report

 

Growing Kings held its second annual fundraising gala— Chucks & Tux — on Saturday, April 29 and drew luminaries and raves from all sectors and occupations from the Birmingham metro area. Growing Kings is a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring services to at-risk male youth in the Birmingham City School System.

A diverse mix of attendees included members of the local philanthropic community, civic leaders, and both young and seasoned professionals who wore Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers along with their formal attire to match the evening’s overall theme.

The event at the Old Car Heaven featured Birmingham city student-designed Chuck Taylor Converse shoes which were auctioned off during the evening. Eight students spent two days in design workshops with University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) professional and student artists to create unique pairs of Converses.

The host committee was made up of members from civic organizations, social clubs, and local civic leaders including Javan Patton, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge; Lauren Lake, chair of the Department of Art & Art History at UAB and Mike Graham, president of Birmingham’s Graham and Company.

Growing Kings was founded in 2009 by Marcus Carson and has established partnerships with community businesses, organizations and leaders. The partnerships have provided students with a hands-on, first-person perspective into the professional lives and successes of mentors. The varied backgrounds and experiences of mentors help communicate effectively with the young male students.

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Growing Kings Executive Director Marcus Carson and his wife.

 

Marcus Carson and Randall Woodfin.
Marcus Carson and Randall Woodfin.

 

Ellis and Kenya Bledsoe.
Ellis and Kenya Bledsoe.

 

 Tika Benveniste and Katy Ottensmeyer.
Tika Benveniste and Katy Ottensmeyer.

 

Mallory Bubbett and Taylor Eads.
Mallory Bubbett and Taylor Eads.

 

Thomasyne Hill and Doris Dawkins.
Thomasyne Hill and Doris Dawkins.

 

Carol Clark
Carol Clark

 

Justin Williams and Rashada Leroy
Justin Williams and Rashada Leroy

 

Darren Nunn and James Manning of Woodforest National Bank
Darren Nunn and James Manning of Woodforest National Bank

 

Student Abdiel Gomez's shoe design.
Student Abdiel Gomez’s shoe design.

 

Student Katana Soberano's shoe design.
Student Katana Soberano’s shoe design.

 

Student Shea Washington's shoe design.
Student Shea Washington’s shoe design.