Jerôme Beillard Festival for Life
About Jerome Beillard
December 8, 1989 was the first Festival of the Trees, a fundraiser for the People with AIDS Coalition of Tucson (P.A.C.T). The event auctioned off nearly 200 decorated trees and wreathes for the holiday season. Over the years, the event grew and in 1992, Festival of the Trees became Festival for Life adding artwork, menorahs, and celebrity items. That year also had a special appearance by Miss Mary Wilson, formerly of the Supremes. In 1995, P.A.C.T.’s co-founder and Executive Director, Jerôme Beillard, passed away from AIDS complications and Festival for Life was renamed to the Jerôme Beillard Festival for Life – honoring the work and spirit of a great man. Each year added amazing artwork, designer Christmas trees, gift baskets, celebrity items and sculptures. Each year also added local sponsors and community members all supporting the same cause.
In 1997, when the three AIDS Service Organizations merged to create the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) – the Paper Prayer Benefit from the Shanti Foundation was added to Festival for Life. Local artists, students, and others create strips of art that represent an ancient Japanese tradition of giving a person who is ill a Paper Prayer as a gift to bring good health. Each year, Festival for Life continues to sells hundreds of Papers to Prayers to be used as cards and tokens of good health.
Over the years, the event has grown and changed, but the main attraction continues to be the collection of fine artwork on display in the live and silent auction. In addition to art, the auction features holiday items, gift baskets, gift certificates, celebrity collectibles, trips, one-of-a-kind experiences and paper prayers. Our guests recognize this great opportunity to find amazing works of art and great gifts, just as the holiday shopping season begins!