Top-ranked NFL tight end and 49ers star Vernon Davis celebrates the grand opening of his new art gallery on Monday night December 10, 2012 in San Joseʼs Santana Row with a cocktail attire event featuring Vernon Davis , his San Francisco 49ers teammates and staff, area artists, Silicon Valley CEOs, and elected officials.

San Joseʼs newest art gallery, Gallery 85, will soon give a wide range of emerging visual artists a new means of high-end exposure, but Davis is utilizing the galleryʼs premiere event to raise funds for The Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts [], which promotes arts education and art appreciation for at-risk youth and awards college art school scholarships for talented inner-city youth.

Best known as one of the NFLʼs elite pass-catching tight ends and one of the 49ers most vocal leaders, Davis is also a talented, trained visual artist who majored in studio art at the University of Maryland. Like many young people in his situation, Davis grew up keeping his love for art hidden because drawing and painting were not culturally accepted means of expression in his tough Washington, D.C. neighborhood.

The Vernon Davis Foundation for the Artsʼ mission is to bring art back as a genuine, viable outlet for inner-city youth, giving them new, positive ways to express themselves. The approach Vernon takes with his foundation is to make art “cool.”

During the evening, donated art will be sold to benefit The Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts. Further keeping with the nonprofit/charity focus of Gallery 85ʼs opening night festivities, the foundation and Vernon have invited the Make-A-Wish Foundation Greater Bay Area Chapter [] and San Jose at-risk youth nonprofit Unity-Care [] to exhibit artworks by children and youth being served by those agencies.

The evening will also feature exhibits of the artwork of Niyjale Cummings, the most recent recipient of the Vernon Davis Visual Arts Scholarship Fund.

The gallery is located on fabulous Santana Row , San Jose’s version of Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. The address for the gallery is 377 Santana Row, Suite 1180, San Jose, California 95128. There will be a red carpet entrance from 8pm to 9pm PST, and a VIP, cocktail attire, invite-only reception from 9pm to 11pm, with jazz music, hors d’oeuvres, a wine and champagne open bar, and words from elected officials, the director of the foundation, Vernon Davis , and members of the San Jose and area art community.

The 49er star fell in love with the galleryʼs glamorous location on Santana Row and immediately knew that he needed to make it his own.

Gallery 85 is not only a natural complement to Davisʼ arts foundation, it also dovetails nicely with his Bay Area-based interior design firm, Modern Class Design [].

With the help of supporters and the eveningʼs attendees, Vernon hopes to continue to inspire at-risk youth to a lifetime dedication of arts and education.

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