Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber


A bounty of art is on the block with 'Camelot'

September 19, 2013 · 9:56 AM

Rose Belknap, a painter, is one of six local artists who have been commissioned to create works for Vashon Allied Arts’ upcoming auction. / Courtesy Photo

Attention, all comely maidens, noble squires and others enamored of Athurian legend: Vashon Allied Arts has the event for you, and it’s coming up next weekend.

VAA’s annual two-night art auction has a Camelot theme this year. Dubbed “A Knight with the Arts,” the event will offer up a king’s ransom of artwork created by more than 100 local artists. Lavish trips and other one-of-a-kind experiences will also be on the block. Among the travel opportunities are a week in a private Palm Springs home, a golfing excursion at a resort in Costa Rica and a wine-tasting tour of Italy.

The event, slated for Friday, Sept. 27, and Saturday, Sept. 28, also has a special sidebar activity this year — a free Renaissance Faire will be held during the day on Saturday, Sept. 28, across the street from the Blue Heron Arts Center. Artisans will demonstrate crafts, and there will be kid-friendly arts activities, music and more.

“Auction organizers recognize that for parents with young children, going to the auction is often a challenge,” said Kira Bacon, VAA’s interim communications director. “This year, everyone can participate.”

Bacon said that VAA hopes that “A Knight with the Arts” will bring $110,000 into the local art institution’s coffers. But even though VAA is currently in the midst of an ambitious capital campaign aimed at building a multi-million dollar 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 will be earmarked for artist commissions, instructor fees and VAA’s day-to-day operational needs.

Bacon said the art auction is more than a means of raising money — it’s also a visible example of the symbiotic relationship between VAA and the rest of the community.

“It’s important to remember the countless volunteer hours that go into producing the auction, the generous donations by island artists and businesses and the many ways the auction gives back to the community,” she said.

Bacon added that proceeds from VAA auctions help keep the organization’s ticket prices below market rates and provide funds for programs like VAA’s New Works Series to encourage performing artists on the island. Bacon also pointed out that last year, VAA’s art auction paid out $16,000 in commissions to visual artists who provided work for the event.

As in years past, VAA has commissioned several local artists to create work especially for this year’s auction.

Paula Allegrini, a U.S. Forest Service firefighter turned woodworker and furniture maker, has created a bi-level table out of woods, including black walnut that was grown and milled on Vashon.

Rose Belknap, a painter, is offering up a piece called “Walking the Headlands,” inspired by a trip to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area more than a decade ago.

William Dacus, another woodworker, has crafted a salad bowl set that includes a large bowl and eight smaller bowls, all cut from a single section of Myrtlewood burl. Each bowl is unique, designed to capture the natural nooks and crannies of the wood.

Leslie Wu, a landscape artist, has created a pastel on paper diptych called “Learning Curves.” She said the piece explores how landscape affects our psyches.

Betty Gardner, a jeweler, has crafted a collection called “Hint of Gold — Pearl and Crystal Collection,” using Swarovski pearls and crystals knotted together using gold silk. The collection includes two necklaces, two bracelets and two pairs of earrings.

Debra Paulsen, a photographer, will contribute a work called “Skyline 100.” The photograph, she said, has a subject that some viewers will recognize, although it is abstracted from its environmental setting.

Bacon said that with these artistic contributions and many more, “A Knight with the Arts” is shaping up to be a stellar evening of fun on Vashon.

“The VAA art auction is one of Vashon’s most highly anticipated parties of the year, and this year promises to live up to expectations,” she said.

VAA’s auction on Friday, dubbed “Camelot in the Parking Lot,” will take place at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in a tent near the Blue Heron Performing Art Center. Tickets are $45. Saturday night’s event, called “Night at the Round Table,” will be held at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in the same location. VAA’s free Renaissance Faire will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, across the street from the Blue Heron. For information, visit www.vashonalliearts.org.

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