Sold to the highest bidder
by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
The members of the Blue Whole Gallery are ready to P-A-R-T-Y!
The first-ever Gala Art Auction is 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30.
Seats are limited and there are only about 30 tickets left for sale, so interested parties should act fast, encouraged gallery member Barbara Boerigter.
Tickets cost $20 and are only available at the gallery.
Gallery members donated 38 pieces of brand-new, never-seen-before pieces of art for a live and a silent auction. The total retail value of the artwork is estimated at more than $10,000. One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit the gallery - the artists have waived their commissions completely.
Five auction items are on display at the gallery to pique people's interest.
Coffee Miklos, Sequim artist and Blue Whole member, will serve as the auctioneer, taking bids and reading descriptions about each item up for auction.
The dress code is "Sequim Chic," which Boerigter describes as country-club casual.
"It's not black tie but it's not jeans and sneakers either," she said.
"I suppose jeans, leather boots and a mink coat would be all right."
The idea for hosting a gala art auction was prompted by re-signing a five-year lease on the downtown space.
"The last 131/2 years we've finished have been a great adventure and we intend to have that continue," Boerigter said, describing the Blue Whole Gallery as an "anchor business" in the downtown revitalization.
"It's always a challenge but we have a lot of loyal people who come and support us as well as passersby who are just walking through town," Boerigter said.
An elegant evening with hors d'oeuvres, live entertainment, door prizes and all the fun and excitement of a live and silent auction seemed like the perfect way to say "thank you" to all of the gallery's followers, Boerigter said.
Despite the economic crunch, sales at the Blue Whole are up over last year. Nonetheless, the artists are brainstorming ways to entice customers into the gallery.
Karin Anderson, gallery member, proposed hosting a juried art show with work from nonmembers and having a concert on site in addition to the monthly First Friday artwalks.
"Maybe by offering new types of things we will draw in new types of visitors," Anderson said optimistically.
As usual, the gallery is accepting new membership applications.
"We are always looking for quality new members," Boerigter said. "This is a training experience and a great way to learn how to show and sell your work."
As a cooperative, all the members contribute to gallery operating expenses with monthly membership dues and by donating commissions. Everybody is expected to take turns with operational duties such as gallery sitting and maintenance, membership on various committees, preparing and serving food and drinks at gallery functions and special projects.
"As the name implies, everything is done as a 'whole,'" Boerigter said.