Kari Ulatoski has contributed a needlepoint and embroidery pillow to VCA’s auction (Courtesy Photo).

Kari Ulatoski has contributed a needlepoint and embroidery pillow to VCA’s auction (Courtesy Photo).

Arts center pivots to hold its gala auction in a new way

The livestreamed event will include entertainment, special guests, “door” prizes and more.

For decades, it has been a staple of autumn on Vashon — a big, September-long exhibit brimming with works by local artists, preceding the big night (or nights) on the last weekend of the month when Vashon Center for the Arts would throw open its doors for its gala art auction.

This year, the exhibit and auction are happily still taking place, even in the age of coronavirus, in a combination of in-person, online and live-streamed events.

It all starts on Friday, Sept. 4, when bidding will open at VCA.maxgiving.bid, for gifts, art and experiences being offered in the auction. Auction items will also be on view at the VCA gallery, open to the public from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. that day, and throughout the month from 12 p.m to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Safety protocols in place at the gallery include mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing.

For those who want to wish to avoid an indoor experience that involves other people, the auction items are also viewable online starting on Sept. 4 and running through Sept. 25.

The big auction will take place in a virtual space at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and be live-streamed from vashoncenterforthearts.org. The event, hosted by Kevin Joyce and Martha Enson, will include entertainment, special guests, a “raise the paddle” fundraiser to donate money directly to VCA, and even a few “door” prizes, organizers said in a press release.

The list of local artists whose work will be auctioned off is long: Pam Ingalls, Morgan Brig, Rose Belknap, Mark Bennion, Donald Cole, Ilse and Harmut Reimnitz have all donated pieces. Adding to that collection are paintings by Jeff Good, Karen Fox, Penny Grist, Jayne Quid, and Jan Wall, to name just a few. There are mixed media works from Sheila Eckman, Christopher Allen, Steve Ellis, Terri Fletcher, and Lisa Guy. Jewelry by Sandy Burns, Dannielle Carbonne, and Eric Heffelfinger will also be on offer. A selection of works in wood by Ralph Moore, Will Dacus, Lyle Harris are also in the auction, as is pottery from Liz Lewis, Chris Beck, David Blad and Lin Holley.

Specialty pieces in the auction include a paper fish lamp sculpture by Elaine Hanowell, a mosaiced cello by Elaine Summers, and a special hand-blown glass item from Bill Aker’s estate collection, donated by Emily Burns.

Another auction item is a custom black and white pencil portrait of a person of the bidder’s choice, to be done by well-known island illustrator and artist Bruce Morser. Another is a commissioned work by Heron Meadow artist Britt Freda, who is known for her work of endangered species.

VCA is also auctioning off vacations and experiences — including a week in a Mount Baker cabin and a trip to France — for those who dream of getting away when it is possible.

But for now, art lovers should hop online to explore the auction. The bidding platform, VCA.maxgiving.bid, has photos and full details of all auction items. Bids have a starting amount and go up in price in pre-determined intervals. Bidding also includes a “buy now” price, by which the bidder can click on to confirm they have won the item.

All proceeds of the auction will go to VCA’s resilience fund and to scholarships for students who wish to take classes at VCA.

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