Arts and Entertainment

The rocking horse winner could be you!

A hand-crafted rocking horse is one of the items available for bidding at the Auction for the Arts. - RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo
A hand-crafted rocking horse is one of the items available for bidding at the Auction for the Arts.
— image credit: RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo

The Auction for the Arts promises to be the rockin’ event of the fall season.

The evening may be as wild a ride as a gallop on a hand-crafted rocking horse, as fine art, fine wine and adventures galore go on the auction block to benefit four island arts organizations.

“When four groups work together to put on the auction we can draw volunteers from every group,” auction co-chair Gail Temple said. “We all know we’re working toward the same end, to support teacher, students and artists in the community.”

The four organizations – Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council, Bainbridge Music and Arts and Bainbridge Performing Arts – have united for the benefit of all.

The unified funding model that brings different community groups together to raise funds, is an unusual one, organizers say; typically, each group runs a separate campaign to raise money.

“I think we’re very fortunate here to be able to collaborate on this kind of thing,” said Nancy Frey, Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council director. “It really speaks well for this arts community that we can.”

The $100,000 raised last year supported the cultural and educational mission of the participating groups, funding wide-ranging programs and events that included performances, exhibits, scholarships and apprenticeships.

Money raised at this year’s auction will be is even more crucial, arts organizers say, because economic hard times in tragedy’s wake darken the outlook for future fundraising.

Co-chairs Temple and Marianne Mack say the event draws such a big crowd that there is no place on Bainbridge to accommodate it.

For the third time in its five years, the event will be held at Kiana Lodge near Suquamish.

“We needed space to serve dinner to 280 people,” Mack said, “plus the space for the silent and the live auction.”

Perhaps the most exotic offering in this year’s auction fare – reserved for the truly adventurous – is piloting an air combat plane.

The winner will fly a real Marchetti SF260 NATO air combat trainer aircraft into the skies at 270 mph. A videotape of the proceedings, recorded from the cockpit, is a bonus.

Like the sponsoring organizations, attendees may join forces to maximize bids.

Prizes such as the Hawaiian luau for 10, and a “Crime and Cuisine” dinner for eight with author Jack Olsen, may be shared booty.

“Sometimes people do get very competitive,” Temple said, “and the auctioneer knows just how to keep that fire burning.”

Running the show will be Graham Crow of Kip Toner Benefit Auctions.

Both Mack and Temple say that the professionalism of the auctioneer and his staff makes a big difference in how smoothly the event runs.

“They have networked computers to keep track of things, they have ‘spotters’ and they supply the auctioneer,” Mack said. “It’s very ‘attendee-friendly.’”

A new feature this year is the game of “50-50,” which could send the winner home with a pot of money – if the auctioneer doesn’t snag the bounty before the night is done.

Mack and Temple concede that the ticket price of $90 may be high, but the event features a five-course meal with complimentary champagne.

“Basically, it’s a time to donate what they’re going to donate,” Temple said, “and, incidentally, come home with some small rewards.”

Objets d’art

The fifth annual Auction for the Arts is 5-10 p.m. Oct. 13 at Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo.

The event benefits educational and cultural programs at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts; Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council; Bainbridge Music and Arts; and Bainbridge Performing Arts.

Valuable objects and priceless adventures will be auctioned, including:

l Four Mark Tobey sketches signed and dated by the artist. The framed sketches of Pike Place Market were donated by Arthur and Virginia Barnett, who received them as a gift from the artist.

l The hand-crafted wooden rocking horse, one of four made by Stevenson Brothers of London, England and sold by Saks Fifth Avenue. Jacqueline Kennedy once owned one of these horses.

l Weekend for two at Rosario Resort on San Juan Island, with transportation by air from Lake Union included.

l Maui vacation, including airline and condominium.

Call 842-8569 for reservations and information.

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