Skip to main content

The City Journals

Art & Soup Celebration fundraises for locals needing access to healthcare

Art buyers help raise funds in auction to benefit Community Nursing Services. (Amy Green/City Journals)

By Amy Green  |  [email protected]

Alphabet. Olive Garden. Campbell’s. Ladle. 

Lots of things might make one think of the word “soup.” But how about art? Is that a soup-y sort of thing? Andy Warhol comes to mind. He was that savvy artist who painted brand-mimicking cans of liquid tomato. He managed to take an unpretentious item and turn it into all the rage. 

Salt Lake City has an annual (and also unpretentious) event that has become all the rage, too. It’s the Art & Soup Celebration, a charitable care fundraiser, that took place April 3 and 4 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. It supports CNS (Community Nursing Services), an organization committed to providing home health and hospice services to uninsured and underinsured Utahns, where need is greatest. 

It brought together a supportive community. At the entry was an impressive ice sculpture along with a display of 50 artists’ works for sale. Local vendors offered many soups to sample. Every year this event involves a similar program that ticket holders can count on — mingling with local talent and enjoying soups, breads and desserts. There are no lines to wait in. Walk up, sample food and enjoy the artwork.

Kimberly Dansie is vice president of business development and fundraising for CNS. “We are an established company that has been around 91 years, providing health and hospice services — care that keeps people in their homes,” Dansie stated. “We are nonprofit, serving the Utah community all these years. If we have a patient that doesn’t have insurance or has insurance that won’t pay for a much needed service, our charitable care can pay for that and get them what they need.” 

Healthcare can be expensive and complicated. “Helping the community is a big part of our mission,” Dansie added. “This event raises money for the charitable care fund. It’s a great way to donate, to give to a good cause while you have fun.”

A highlight of the event was watching some artists paint in person. Then a live auctioneer started a bidding war for those freshly painted pieces. Over 20 restaurants donated 100 percent of their food and time. The artists donated 35 percent of sales to CNS. 

Christine Mason was one of the generous restaurant suppliers. She has donated to Art & Soup for over 10 years, bringing food from her Polish foods market and also her event business, Good Day Catering. She has done food service since she was 13 years old. “It’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done,” she said. Mason enjoys preserving and sharing her joy of Polish tradition and flavors.

Claire Tollstrup was one of the artists from Salt Lake. She loved the organic painting process. “Sometimes I’ll have a vision of what I want my painting to be, and sometimes that will happen. Most of the time, the painting wants to be something else,” Tollstrup described. She had sample postcards showing her larger designs. 

Ben Behunin was another artist bringing handmade pottery. “It’s all been fired to 2,400 degrees, with mixed media and glass. Some of it is thrown on the wheel and some of it’s hand built,” he explained. Behunin makes reservoirs in the clay where the glass can melt and fuse to create spirited patterns and bold variations in the stoneware.  

A string quartet played music, complementing the diversity of art and palate offerings. Those involved in the planning put together a memorable atmosphere to support others. Art & Soup is a savvy approach (much like an easy-going Andy Warhol picture) to help many Utahns in need. 

For more info visit: