Like so many young adults, Andrew Wilfahrt was searching to find his place in the world and was looking for ways to make a difference. As a gay soldier, he joined the Army under the "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy. Wilfahrt gave his life for the state and country that he loved, and yet, he did not have full rights.
“Andrew was a kind, compassionate man who loved music and the arts,” said his mother Lori Wilfahrt. “Tony’s artwork captures Andrew’s interests and this event brings together his values. He would be pleased that we are working together for Minnesota veterans and the LGBT community.”
Celebrity portrait artist Anthony Whelihan was inspired to create the mixed media artwork after hearing Lori and her husband Jeff Wilfahrt speak at a fundraiser.
“I was so taken by what they said and the courage and commitment they possessed that I spoke with them privately after and asked if I might paint their son Andrew's portrait as a way for me to get involved and, in some way, acknowledge his sacrifice,” said Whelihan. “I feel this portrait is a lasting tribute to Andrew and all the other brave men and women that have fought and died for us so that we may live in a free society, free of bigotry, hate and ridicule.”
Whelihan will open his home studio in Plymouth to view a private release of “American Heroes,” a tribute portrait of Corporal Andrew Charles Wilfahrt at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13. The event will honor all fallen soldiers and benefit CommonBond Communities and OutFront Minnesota.
The event is hosted by David Bjork, Michelle & Bill Pohlad, Dana & Ellen Schnobrich, John Sullivan, and Lori & Jeff Wilfahrt of Rosemount. All proceeds will benefit CommonBond Communities and OutFront Minnesota.
Whelihan has made his mark on the contemporary art scene with his multi-faceted portraits of celebrities from around the world. His signature style and bold use of color have made his work, and himself, instantly recognizable. This gregarious artist is as his work, volatile, explosive, yet introspective.
(Information provided by an OutFront Minnesota press release.)