38th Annual Art Auction to take center stage on campus

An intensified crowd of auction participants will bid on original artworks donated to benefit SIUE’s Art & Design department.

This painting by Art & Design professor John DenHouter is an example of a donated piece for the 38th Annual ART AUCTION. Image courtesy of Pam Decoteau. Th event takes place March 19th at 6 p.m. in Art & Design West building gallery.

The 38th Annual ART AUCTION will be held this year in the gallery of the Art & Design West building on March 19th. Doors open at 6 p.m. for previewing. Then, bidding starts at 7 p.m. by Ahrens & Niemeier auctioneers.

Hosted by the Friends of Art (FOA) organization along with the university’s Art & Design department, the event serves as the main fund-raiser to enhance art students’ learning since 1977.

Pam Decoteau, retired art history professor and FOA board member, said the organization is really important for art and design students.

“It brings visiting artists and speakers who are not on faculty to give students different views about art, creating art and different techniques,” Decoteau said.

Last year’s auction allowed the department to invite 15 local, national and international artists and lecturers to campus as well as providing monies to purchase art books and videos for Lovejoy Library, funds for students to attend national conferences and awards for student exhibits.

Decoteau said students can come to the event and bid on artwork by their instructors then hang them up in their dorm rooms or give them away as gifts.

She added that depending on who is bidding on a particular piece, items can be won at a reasonable cost.

Andi Smith, current FOA president and daughter of one of the co-founding faculty members of the organization, Mike Smith, said the auction, where 200 are expected to attend, is always a lot of fun.

“It’s exciting to bid because you don’t know if you’re going to win or not, or to watch someone else get caught up in the excitement and just keeping bidding,” Smith said.  “Sometimes you start bidding and somebody else might get it, and you just can’t stop. You can’t let them get it.”

She added that sometimes the bidding starts and suddenly 12 people are bidding on the same item.

Jewelry magnets and silk scarves, items that can be purchased with cash, according to Smith, will be available as well.

“You can just purchase [them] because some people get intimidated at an auction. So with the cash and carry thing, if you like it you can just buy it,” Smith said.

Artworks will range from starting at $10 to $500. Roughly 120 pieces will be verbally auctioned off while in a separate silent auction, 40 pieces will be on display.

“There are really a lot of gorgeous things this year,” Smith said.

The auction will feature mugs, pottery, textile pieces, wall hangings, sculptural items and paintings donated by students, faculty, local and national artists.

Smith said an artist from California, an alum, Roger Weik, donated a mixed media piece, and that it is always interesting and exciting to get donations.

“We never know what will be donated. Every year is a little different,” Smith said. “For me, because my father taught in the department it teaches me how big the family of former students of alumni and faculty of SIUE’s Art and Design department is.”

She added that when they get a donation it is sort of like a card from an old friend that you have not heard from in a while.

“It makes your heart happy,” Smith said.

For more information, visit http://www.siue.edu/artsandsciences/art/friends.shtml

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