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'Bond' with art at VAA's annual auction
Giant tent ordered and ready to be erected? Check.
Festive food, libations and entertainment lined up? Check.
More than 150 artworks and dozens of other high-end items ready to be auctioned off? You betcha.
It’s that time again, when dozens of volunteers join the staff and board of Vashon Allied Arts in preparing for the organization’s annual two-night art auction, a gala slated for this Friday and Saturday night.
Organizers hope the event brings more than $100,000 to the local arts institution’s coffers.
But even though VAA is currently in the midst of an ambitious capital campaign aimed at building a new facility, funds brought in from the auction won’t be used for that purpose. Instead, roughly half of the money will go toward providing scholarships to students who take VAA classes; the rest is earmarked for artist commissions, instructor fees and VAA’s day-to-day operational needs.
Molly Reed, VAA’s executive director, said the need for scholarships has increased exponentially since she was hired by the organization in 2006 and has become one of the primary reasons for holding the annual auction.
Her first year, VAA handed out $15,000 in scholarships. “It has gone up every single year,” she said.
Last year, VAA auction-goers donated $45,000 to the scholarship fund. This year, Reed said, she hopes they’ll dig deeper and provide $50,000.
Given the emphasis on scholarships, attendees can no doubt expect some heartfelt testimonials about the power of art to change lives. But plenty of silly grown-up hijinks are also planned for the two-night auction.
VAA is calling this year’s shindig “Bond with the Arts” — a nod to the 50th anniversary of the James Bond spy franchise. Auction-goers are encouraged to attend the event decked out in their most stylish 1960s garb, for a “shaken, not stirred” evening of fun.
One staff member will show up decked out as a “golden lady,” in homage to the Bond film, “Goldfinger.” And a merry band of local performers — Steffon Moody, David Godsey and Martha Enson — has been tapped to roll out secret agent-themed entertainment.
Island impresario Kevin Joyce will serve as auctioneer on Friday night, and David Silverman will wield the gavel on Saturday, presiding over what Reed called “a banner year” for showcasing the talent of local artists.
“I know we say this every year, but this year’s art is truly mind-blowing,” she said.
In keeping with auction tradition, six artists have been commissioned to create special pieces for the event. This year’s group includes painters Olivia Pendergast and Jayne Quig, fine-art woodworker Brad Davis, book artist Don Glaister, jeweler Larry Muir and Tlingit carver and artist Israel Shotridge.
High-end experiences — including VIP passes for 16 to an upcoming Neil Young concert at Key Arena and a wine-tasting trip for six to Italy — will also be on the block.
A spread of food will be catered by Mileta Creek Restaurant on Friday night and The Hardware Store Restaurant on Saturday.
What’s left to make “Bond with the Arts” a success? According to Reed, filling the tents with eager bidders is the last piece of the puzzle; she’s hoping both nights sell out.
“Every year at this time, I’m going crazy, bugging people to buy their tables,” she said, adding that tickets are, in fact, already selling well. “This never gets easier. It’s a huge undertaking, but every year brings fresh ideas, and we figure out things to improve upon.”
Tickets to VAA’s Friday night event are $45/general and $25/contributing artists; for Saturday, tickets are $120. Purchase by calling 463-5131.