In December of 1977, a group of island artists got together, cooked a batch of spaghetti, donated their art and launched the first annual art auction for Vashon Allied Arts, now Vashon Center for the Arts.
That night set the stage for what has become one of the longest-running auctions on the island. Like any creative project, VCA’s auction has morphed over the years, taking on new shapes and features, including the addition of a second evening. Fast-forward to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, when VCA will unveil a new iteration of its biggest fund-raising event — the 2019 gala art auction, “Masquerade.”
This year, the live auction will be a one-night-only affair — a change from VCA’s long practice of holding the auction over the course of two nights. This year, VCA has also embraced the new concept of an extended silent auction. All 70 silent auction items, donated by local artists, have been on display and up for bid since Friday, Sept. 6, and will remain available until minutes before the live auction.
“Our hope is that three weeks of perusing silent auction items will elevate the overall values of the items as well as showcase the generous artists who have donated their works to support VCA,” said VCA Acting Executive Director Allison Halstead Reid.
Appetizers, and later dinner, will be served by the staff at Herban Feast as guests make final bids on remaining silent auction items.
As part of the festivities, students from Vashon Center for Dance and VCA’s music theatre education program will perform, and auctioneer Kevin Joyce will return to enliven the mix, with Martha Enson masquerading as master of ceremonies. A volunteer decorations committee will transform the atrium into a magical midsummer eve, and guests are encouraged to don a mask and dress accordingly.
Another new concept this year was to limit the live auction to fewer works of art and 12 high-end experiences. Artists with work in the live auction include John Anderson, Bill Cleaver, Michael Elenko, Brian Fisher, Britt Freda, Kristen Reitz-Green, Pam Ingalls, Pascale Judet, David Kroll, Ted Kutscher, Steffon Moody, Bill Rives, Erin Schulz and Allison Crain Trundle.
Experiences up for bid will include a collector’s art tour and private dinner with prominent island attorney Matt Bergman and his wife, Kim; vacation trips to France, Rancho Mirage and a Mount Baker cabin; tickets to VCA’s Froggsong Gardens Peak of Bloom Party and Dinner; a New York City Broadway show package; a VIP experience with returning concert pianist Slava Gryaznov and a Puget Sound sailing experience.
Funds from “raise the paddle” portion of the evening, which garnered $97,500 in 2018, will go to VCA’s scholarship fund, and proceeds from a dessert dash will go to VCA’s Vashon Artists in Schools program.
According to Halstead Reid, the whole point of the night is to come together to celebrate not only VCA but also the broader artistic community on Vashon.
“VCA is here, alive and strong, because of the art that is made, created and shared on Vashon Island,” she said. “Our annual gala art auction fundraiser allows us to continue serving the artists in our community, and just as importantly, the young students who are encouraged and nurtured to embrace their artistic talents.”