A cornucopia of creativity

Peninsula Art Guild to host annual Harvest Art Auction

Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2007

Who, what, where, when

The Harvest Art Auction to benefit the Peninsula Art Guild will begin at 6 p.m. on Sept. 22 at the Kenai Fine Arts Center in Old Town Kenai. For more information, call 283-7040.

By definition, a guild is a group of people with the same interests or pursuits who band together to protect their mutual interests and set standards of practice. The Peninsula Art Guild serves this purpose for the visual art community on the Kenai Peninsula, and it does so through volunteer effort.

Marty Hapeman, is one of the artists serving and served by the art guild. She has played many roles over the years.

"Years ago I was president, but now I'm a member at large, and I'm the exhibits coordinator," said Hapeman, who operates Art Works gallery in Soldotna and exhibits her own work in Alaska.

The Peninsula Art Guild calls the Kenai Fine Arts Center in Old Town Kenai its home. The center provides a gallery forum for the presentation of artwork, including painting, drawing, clay, sculpture and fiber arts. In addition to gallery sales, which support peninsula artists, the center promotes student activity through shows and scholarships. Artists have the opportunity to interact within the visual arts community through gallery openings, workshops and volunteering at the center.

How does an organization operate a space on volunteer contributions? One of the tried-and-true methods is the fundraising event. What kind of fundraiser makes more sense for an art guild, than an art auction.

"It pretty much keeps the lights on," said Hapeman of the upcoming Harvest Art Auction at the center.

The Fine Arts Center has a long history in Kenai, though it hasn't always been a gallery, studio and workshop space. Many years ago, it was the city jail and firehouse.

"You go all the way to the back, you kind of wind your way back, it's just the office at this point, but the bars are still there. It was the fire station, and then they added the jail. It's just one single cell, but it's a historic building," Hapeman said.

Art fundraising also claims a long history at the center. Before it was the Kenai River Arts Council, the Kenai Arts and Humanities Council would hold a yearly fundraiser called "Jailhouse Rock," in honor of the building's origin. The guild itself has existed in Kenai in various forms since the 1960s, Hapeman said.

The Harvest Art Auction fundraiser has a seven-year history and has evolved over the years.

"Originally the Harvest Art Auction was a collaboration between the Peninsula Art Guild and Planned Parenthood. They used to get so many entries, that they thought that it should get its own show that it should be on exhibit for a while, rather than just setting up all this artwork for the auction, and then taking it right down," Hapeman said.

"We loved that idea, so we did it with them for two years and then they pulled out. We just kept with it because we thought it was such a great idea. When they pulled out they said 'We still think it's a great idea, so if you want to continue with it, do.'"

The auction has the support of many local artists. Their art has been on exhibit at the center since last Thursday. Donating artists include Rube Tikka, Chris Jenness, Guy White, Helen Brown, William Heath, Pat Lytle, Carol Walkiewicz, Donna Steele, Jim Evenson, Jim Miller, Gaye LaRane, Laura Faeo, John Trofimuk, Mary Ellen Perrizo, Sarah Glaves, Roy Shapley, Zirrus VanDevere, Judy Brandt, Kathryn Dunagan, Leslie Hamilton, Joe Kashi, Forrest McDaniel, Dan Omundson, Beverly Dean, Becky Holloway, Charlie LaForge, Ida Cockroft and Kathryn Zerbe.

Mediums include clay, photography, painting, jewelry, fabric art, glass work, mixed media, stone lithograph and sculpture.

The Peninsula Art Guild expects there will be a few more artists involved before the auction takes place.

The artists involved in the auction can benefit more directly from the auction, as well. The artists have the option to keep 25 percent of the final bidding price for their work. Seventy-five percent goes directly to the art guild, Hapeman said. The artists also may choose to give the purchase price to the guild. Several local stores and businesses have contributed to support the evening with donations of food and beverages.

"There will be a period for viewing and socializing, and then the auction will start," Hapeman said.

Joe Gallagher will be the auctioneer, and Celia Anderson will be the emcee.

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