The white walls of Burnet Gallery at Le Meridien Chambers in downtown Minneapolis made the perfect canvas for the ACS CURE's Art Crush benefit.

The American Cancer Society's young professional group ACS CURE funds a local research grant at the University of Minnesota. Event chairwoman Ashley Ver Burg had a very personal reason for getting involved with the nonprofit. Her dad was found to have cancer just five months before his 50th birthday.

"Later that same year, we celebrated his birthday and he entered remission," she said. "What better organization to support than one that fights to make a world with less cancer -- and more birthdays -- a reality."

Ver Burg said the art events sponsored by her group usually include traditional artwork, such as French impressionists Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and Claude Monet. But she and others in attendance appreciated the relevance of the gallery's "Black Turbo" exhibit, which featured local artist Michael Gaughan's often cheeky watercolors.

"Art is such a rich expression of culture, and [Gaughan's work] captures that of the 2000s, sometimes through the lens of life in the Twin Cities," said Ver Burg.

A new crush, perhaps?

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177