Going…Going… Sold!

Last Saturday was  my first experience with Artopia, a fund raiser for a local charity which attracted over 500 folks, and it was very positive.

We began with an eclectic array of appetizers, which I presume were donated so the charity received all of the $20 admission. There was spanakopita, chicken quesadillas, hoagie bites, and the infamous Southern delectable of shrimp and grits (served in plastic martini glasses). I was able to get some shrimp without the grits.

Cocktails and wine were available for $6-$7. There was also complimentary coffee. Afterwards, there was a selection of desserts, including chocolates, petit fours, eclairs, etc. I managed to limit myself to just four chocolates.

Then it was time to hunt for a deal on some 300 pieces of art. There were three rooms up for silent auction. The large banquet room where the live auction began at 9 also had an area for silent auction and it seems these were the top of the line items because I didn’t see much of interest in the three rooms, which closed at 15 minute intervals as the live auction approached. The silent auction in the banquet room closed after the live auction.

It’s said that art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. But I don;t see how too many folks could appreciate many of the items. And at the end of the evening, I’d say about 1/3 of the silent auction items did not receive the minimum bid (which varied by item) and so were unsold.

The live auction only had about 15 items, but the winning bids were an eye opener. A 20 x 24 gold leaf and paint “Estrucan Palm” sold for $2,700. “Gulf Wanderer”, a 36 x 47acrylic and epoxy of the front half of a fish in the center, with water above and below, and which I liked, sold for $2000 or a bit more.

I only competed for one item in the silent auction, which was in the banquet room. It was a woman’s pin / pendant made from a Chinese gambling “chip” to which a azurite/malachite stone had been added above the chip. Designed by New York artist Donna chambers and donated by local jeweler The Gem Collection.

The certificate of authenticity said the chip is antique carved mother of pearl from the Ch’ing Dynasty (circa 1736-1796). The “retail” price was $190, which sounded too low to me.

I waited until about 9 PM to check on the bidding. There were six bids, three of them from #11 who had raised the bid to beat three different folks who had bid against her/him throughout the night. The existing bid was $80. I waited until 9:15 to bid $85, then sat at a table where I could see if anyone returned to check on the price. No one did, and so I won the bid. My bid ID was #29, which when added together is… So an “11” won.

I’ll be back for next year’s Artopia.

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