Fred Williard gives work for Bad Art event

Champaign Arts Council fundraiser is this week.

When it comes to his art skill, for comedian and actor Fred Willard it is a joking matter.

That’s why the Ohio native was a natural to become the first nationally recognized celebrity contributor to the Champaign Arts Council’s Bad Art by Good People fundraiser.

“I love to draw, although I wish I was better at it,” said Willard, an Emmy-nominee who has hundreds of movie and television credits.

He has appeared in movies such as “Anchorman” and on television in “Family Matters” and “Modern Family.” He was born and raised in Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb.

The sixth annual “Bad Art for Good People,” the Arts Council’s main fundraiser of the year, gathers 15 original works by local non-artist celebrities and Willard for auction to benefit the Arts Council.

The event will be 6-9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at a new location, the VFW/DAV Brownridge Hall, 220 E. Court St.

Longtime Urbana Daily Citizen sports editor Steve Stout is a memorabilia collector and charity supporter who helped the Arts Council previously with an auction of “Star Wars” cartoon animation cels he donated.

Stout met Willard, who is a fellow baseball memorabilia collector, and the two formed a friendship.

“He donated this piece because I asked him to and because of his support for the arts everywhere, that’s really all there was to it,” Stout said.

Willard is one of those celebrities whose name may not be familiar, but odds are you’d recognize him or even his voice. He’s appeared in popular series including “Roseanne,” “Friends” and “Castle” and movies such as “This is Spinal Tap” and “Silver Streak.”

He’s also a popular cartoon voice, heard on “The Simpsons,” “Transformers” and a host of others.

Other unique art items will include for the first time a piece of jewelry and a cake that will be freshly baked the day of the auction.

Another will be an Ohio State-themed piece welded from Duramax engine parts featuring figures spelling out O-H-I-O.

The public can see the individual items and vote on the art they like best on the Arts Council’s website. Voting costs $1 a vote and will be open until 5 p.m. on Feb. 24.

Tickets for the event cost $25 and include dinner and dessert by Paul’s Catering. A cash bar will be available.

Local magician/comedian Michael Kent will host and do the auction for the second consecutive year.

Tickets have sold out for the previous two year Bad Art events, said Arts Council Executive Director Heather Brackney.

She said this event raises 20 percent of the organization’s annual income. It raised a record $15,000 in 2016 and she hopes for a similar tally this year.

Future Arts Council events will include the Sunday Series on March 19 and April 23, the Celebration of the Arts on May 5 and the return of the Concerts in the Park series in June.

How to go

What: Bad Art by Good People fundraiser

Where: VFW/DAV Brownridge Hall, 220 E. Court St., Urbana

When: 6-9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24

Admission: $25

More info: 937-643-7557 or

Contact this contributing writer at

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