The 40th Benefit Art Auction was far from typical, but the gratitude we feel to everyone involved during this strange year is immense and has left us extremely hopeful for the future.
The preview party on March 12 went off without a hitch, but then the galleries fell dark and we had to press pause on both the exhibition and the event. We had no idea then how things would – or even could – proceed, but we put our heads together and came up with a plan to adapt. And then, when we reopened the online bidding and began planning a virtual party to celebrate the auction closing, you were there for us.
To the generous sponsors, supportive board of directors, talented artists, and enthusiastic art buyers (some of whom are new to the Arts Center and the auction!): THANK YOU. Even without the live auction excitement there was incredible bidding activity, and proceeds from the art sales came very close to reaching what we raised in 2019. After being closed for two months in the midst of a pandemic we had no idea what to anticipate, but results greatly exceeded our expectations! Never before had we attempted to ‘Raise the Paddle’ online, but once again you came through for us and helped us reach our $90,000 goal for the Visiting and Resident Artists Program. Thank you so much!
Robin Bayer and Tequa Creek signed on early as our exclusive technology sponsor enabling us to utilize a mobile bidding platform for the first time in 40 years of auctions. Needless to say, without this service the 2020 auction would not have reached this level of success. The online platform broadened our reach enabling even more people to participate and purchase art. We are so thankful for this support and look forward to continuing to improve and enhance the online auction experience in the future.
For the entire 40 years of auctions, the Edmonds family of Edmonds Duncan Registered Advisors has been steadfast supporters. As the signature sponsor since 2015, their generosity has had immeasurable impact on the auction, the exhibitions program, and the Lawrence Arts Center. They have stuck with us through thick and thin – and now a pandemic – and we are eternally grateful.
We would also like to thank Merchants Pub & Plate for helping us enhance this year’s experience. T.K and Emily Peterson brought their ‘outside the box’ creativity and talent, putting together incredible party packs that brought the auction vibe into people’s homes. Working with Free State Brewing Company and City Wine Market, they provided perfect libations. We are so grateful to partner with all three of these local businesses. Their generous support of the arts and the auction make our community a better place to live. You can still order the exclusive auction beer (including a custom growler) from Merchants while supplies last. Get some before it’s too late!
In one of the auction videos, Margie Wakefield shared the importance of the auction, what supporting local artists means to the community, and how it brings her hope. She shows her support as an Inspiration-level sponsor through her firm, Margie Wakefield Law Office, P.A. We feel that same hope and are so thankful for Margie’s vision and leadership.
Our table sponsors brazenly maintained their support this year even when there were no actual tables! We offer our deepest thanks to Landmark Bank, Matt Gilhousen, and Don & Jolissa Buchner for supporting this signature community event even in its new format.
Others who continue to make the auction a much-anticipated and beloved event by artists and attendees alike include Biemer’s BBQ, Mainline Printing, and Bitter Sweet Floral. We thank them for continuing to support the auction and the Arts Center during these challenging times.
Most importantly, we would like to thank the artists. Your support is essential to the very existence of the Exhibitions Program. Working with artists throughout the year is a privilege we do not take for granted, and we never cease to be amazed by the work that is so generously donated.
We look forward to seeing sponsors, board members, artists, and art lovers in the galleries in the coming months as we work toward the next year of amazing (and always free) exhibitions. We can’t wait to see everyone when we can safely be together again!