Annual art auction benefits department, connects students, faculty with community

SIUE senior Katie Manning had spent more than 20 hours tirelessly carving woodblocks and pressing her Woodblock print piece titled “The Griffin.”

Art Therapy student Kaitlyn Elliot runs an art piece to be auctioned through the audience during the annual Art Auction March 17 at Art Building West. (Photo by Joseph Lacdan)

Art Therapy student Kaitlyn Elliot runs an art piece to be auctioned through the audience during the annual Art Auction March 16 at Art Building West. (Photo by Joseph Lacdan)

She had also spent weeks in class doing the same for her Celtic Heritage print, which tells a personal story of her and her family.

But after those hours of work, she said she was happy to donate her prints to the annual Friends of Art auction that was held March 16 in Art Building West.

“It feels good to donate a piece,” Manning said. “I’m giving back to the university that’s taught me so much already. It’s really beneficial to the other students and it’s really beneficial to me.”

Students, faculty and alumni donated 121 art pieces to the auction, raising more than $17,000 for the Art Department. Painting instructor Jane Barrow’s painting sold for $1,200 and ceramics professor Paul DreSang’s glass design sold for $620.

The 39th annual event connects student artists with alumni and community members. The auction also helps put funding back into the department, so students like Manning are inspired to donate their art.

“The money goes to the students specifically, so they might hear those speakers and go on trips. It benefits the student body,” said drawing instructor Jason Bly. “When the faculty puts in work and students put in work it comes back to them. … The community will visit the art building. It’s interesting to get to know the community face to face.”

Junior Heidi Looker donated a design called “Progression” made of indigo-dyed cotton fabric. Looker said she enjoys working with indigo because of the variety of shapes and different patterns that can be made. Looker said she learned the design techniques in a textile art class, but taught herself how to indigo dye. Progression features circles that move from one side of the piece to the other.

“It’s just supposed to represent energy and motion and a progression through time – a progression through emotion and feelings,” Looker said.

Bidding ranged from $25 to hundreds of dollars and members of the department volunteered as runners. The auction featured a professional auctioneer. Bly said the selection for the auction is open to a wide range of art and rarely do pieces go without bids. In addition to networking with the community, the students can contribute to the department that helped develop their artistic skills.

“This has been [an opportunity] to give back to the art department just because they do so much for us and the Friends of Art do so much for us,” Manning said. “They allow us to have all these kinds of events.”


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