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Online bidding now available for pARTy silent auction
Art Base celebrates 23rd annual fundraiser
Art auction
The auction is an important contributor to the Art Base’s annual funding. Bids start at $100 this year. - photo by Katie Hankinson

Bids for the 2019 pARTy at the Art Base 10x10 Name Unseen Silent Auction opened Aug. 9 and close today, Aug. 15, at 5 p.m. Starting at $100, any of this year’s exhibition pieces by a famous or emerging artist could be yours.

The Art Base is a nonprofit organization, committed to fostering creativity for all ages and abilities through education programs, exhibitions, and events. Among these includes the pARTy; a gala, followed by a silent auction in order to help the Art Base raise funds for next year’s programs.

“The funds we raise during the silent auction all go back into our programming efforts,” Art Base executive director, Genna Moe, said in an interview. “For example, scholarships for youth summer programs. We have a free after school program for elementary and middle school students. We support artists here in the Valley with solo show opportunities. A big outreach program for the at-risk and underserved. Working with immigrant students at Basalt High School and middle school. Ultimately we believe that art builds community.”

In order to increase its efforts this year, the Art Base has made bidding available online a week before the event—a new addition to its annual fundraising effort. Every piece is created by artists specifically for the pARTy and bidding begins at $100. Moe thinks the most a piece has ever gone for during the auction is $3,000. Everyone who works at the Art Base also creates a 10 by 10 piece for the exhibition.

“We give every artist a 10-inch by 10-inch panel, they sign it on the back, do the work, then give it back to us. We don’t reveal the names until the night of the pARTy,” Moe said.

“When you get to your table, there’s a cheat sheet of who made what and you actually will get a text message saying, “You won this piece!”

If you’re not at the pARTy, you’ll get an email announcing that you won or who made what. It turns into a fun competition. Everyone tries to guess whose is whose. An artist might try something out of their normal style or medium, or see if they can outsmart guests. The 10 by 10 creates a different format they have to work with. It’s really fun and gets competitive — people try to outbid each other. The energy is really great the night of, and it’s a really fun portrait of the arts community in the valley.”

Art auction
Genna Moe checks out some of the pieces that are available for bidding in the Art Base’s annual auction, which continues through Friday. - photo by Katie Hankinson
Last year, the fundraising goal for the live paddle raise at the event was to raise $80,000 to make school classes free, which they achieved. This year the goal is to raise $100,000 during the live paddle raise, in which case the Art Base will commit to doubling scholarships available for youth.

“We have never had to refuse a scholarship request, but our requests have more than doubled in the last year and we are concerned about keeping up with demand,” Moe said. “We do rely on some of that income, but if we offset that with what we earn at the gala we can provide that to the community.”

Word has gotten out that The Art Base is a community center in addition to an art center that focuses on Basalt youth.

“I think just with the visibility, people are aware we exist and want to participate,” Moe said. “We raise 30 percent of our annual budget in one night during this event. We’re hoping that by allowing folks to bid online at the silent auction we can increase what we bring in, because we understand not everyone can make it to Basalt this week to see the artwork, and we also understand  that not everyone who wants to buy the art lives here. We just hope people fall in love with the work.”

There’s specific ways art builds community. The obvious is that it can drive tourism and boost the economy by people spending money on art. But it also builds social cohesion, which is a big part of the Art Base’s mission. It breaks down socioeconomic borders or language barriers.

“Art is a language all in itself. Access to art for kids in schools will lower dropout rates and increase performance in standardized test, lower drug use. It benefits the community to have increased access to art.”

This year, the pARTy is sponsored by Krista Klees and Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, as well as a large number of community sponsors including Woody Creek Distillers, Raven Gallery, and Art Aspen.

“A big warm thank you to all the participating artists as well,” Moe said. “We so appreciate them doing this. A lot of people tell us they look forward to it every year because they can count on it, they know the format, and it’s a fun outside of the box project — even though it’s technically a box.”

Online bidding closes at 5 p.m. today, Thursday, Aug. 15. Those interested can bid in advance of the actual pARTy and there’s in person bidding at the pARTy itself. If a person really wants a piece, bid high so it won’t get outbid at the actual event.

For a chance to take home a 10x10 piece by a famous artist or launch an emerging artist’s career, view the panels and bid here today: