Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The Verner Award Gala and Art Sale ... or what I did last Wednesday night!

(Above:  At the South Carolina Arts Foundation's annual Verner Award Gala and Art Sale with Stained Glass XXXVI.  Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

Every year the South Carolina Arts Foundation conducts a formal gala for the SC Arts Commission's Verner Award celebration.  There's both an art sale (invited works under $1000) and an art auction (invited works over $1000.)  I was honored to have a piece in both sales areas ... and thrilled to dress-to-the-nines for this festive event.  (Thank you goes to my wonderful sister Sonya and her husband Vipin for this amazing tambour-stitched, hot pink silk jacket!  Wearing it just added to an awesome evening.)

(Above:  The Grand Hall at 701 Whaley during the Verner Art Gala and Sale.)

I went early to see the marvelous artwork available.  The "best of the best" in my home state is always carefully displayed and perfectly lit for this sale benefiting the foundation.  Sales have an artist/organization 70/30 split!  Basically, works sold here net the artists more than they normally would if sold through a gallery.  Also, this is an invitational show.  An artist must be asked to participate.  It is prestigious to have work in this event.  It's an honor!

(Above:   Invitations sent to donors, board members, past supporters, etc.)

Even the elite invitations are amazing works of creativity.  Several 4 1/2" x 5 1/4" cards were carefully placed inside a clear plastic CD case.  Some included information about the gala tickets, the art sale, the auction, and board and event sponsors.  The second card in the package ... the one with the evening's agenda and basic information ... included an image of Stained Glass XXXVI, my piece in the $1000+ auction!  (The cover art which is seen above features Alice Ballard's Pod 2, a white earthenware and terra sigillata wall hanging ceramic.  Alice has a piece in the Smithsonian's Renwick!)  No ... I didn't get one of these invitations in the mail but a friend collected two for me to keep.  These were mailed to sponsors, donors, and companies purchasing blocks of $75 tickets, etc.

(Above:  The Grand Hall at 701 Whaley during the Verner Art Gala and Sale.)

The art hung on temporary walls throughout the grand hall.  It was all quite fancy and hard to believe that everything was put into place inside of a day!  It is generally difficult to see everything and snap a few good photos after such events start ... too many people, too many conversations, too many distractions ...

...like this stunning flower arrangement made by my friend John Whitehead.  This one towered overhead and was simply amazing.

The food tables were exotic and colorful!  The bar was stocked.  Men came in tuxedos and the ladies donned designer garb and handmade jewelry.  Quite a show.   

(Above:  Stained Glass XXXVI and me.)

Plenty of people were snapping photos ... of the art, their friends, the Verner Award winners (South Carolina's top arts honors), and of the various artists beside there work.  The photo above and at the beginning of this post were taken by my friend Jillian Owens, the ReFashionista ... who also works as a grants writer at the SC Arts Commission. 

(Above:  Jillian Owens and me at the Verner Arts Gala ... in the area for the auction ... works over $1000.)

Jillian is an amazing person and an incredible recycling seamstress.  She altered a garment a day for a year ... 366 outfits. (It was leap year).  She blogged before, during, and after photos of each creation.  For those wishing that the television show Project Runway would spend less time on the drama/trauma and more time on the actual construction and the genius, behind-the-scenes ideas ... check out Jillian's blog!  Here's a blog post about the dress she wore to the gala!  Amazing!

(Above: Bhavna and Raj Vasudeva with me.)

I was thrilled that my smaller piece, Window XXXVI, sold immediately after the "red dots" became available.  In fact, there were three people wanting to purchase it.  (I hope they come visit me at Mouse House because I've got more!)  Later in the evening, I met Bhavna and Raj Vasudeva who were the successful bidder on Stained Glass XXXVI.  I honestly didn't think people would bid more than the opening bids in this area.  Why?  Because the artists were encouraged to set the minimum at the actual retail sales price.  Any funds above that price went directly to the Arts Commission's Foundation and were a tax deduction.  My piece went for several hundred dollars MORE than I generally sell them for!   WOW!  Thank you so much Bhavna and Raj!  You make a difference for the arts in South Carolina ... not to mention my ego!

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