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Scenes from the 2017 Penland Benefit Auction

It wouldn’t be August at Penland without our biggest event of the year: the Annual Penland Benefit Auction! This year’s on August 11-12 was another rousing success and a beautiful illustration of just how vital Penland’s community is to our many programs. We owe everyone involved a giant THANK YOU—from the Penland staff, interns, core fellows, and resident artists to the event sponsors, advertisers, and donors. Hundreds of artists gave exquisite works of art, hundreds of volunteers came to clean the campus and move furniture and prepare the displays and pour the drinks, and hundreds of guests came to enjoy it all and support our programs. We couldn’t pull off the auction without the love and generosity of each and every one of these people, but together, they helped us do something incredible. Together, we raised $638,390 for Penland! This money goes to support so many aspects of our campus, from maintenance and renovations to beloved buildings like the Craft House to purchasing supplies for our studios and paying the salaries of our dedicated staff.

The benefit auction is also a time to recognize some very special people at Penland. We were lucky this year to have featured artist Vivian Beer on campus to share her work as a furniture designer, and we welcomed incoming Penland director Mia Hall under the tent with her husband David Clemons and their daughter Fiona. We also got to recognize two incredible women as our 2017 Outstanding Artist Educators: potter Cynthia Bringle and weaver Edwina Bringle. Both have been pillars of our creative community for decades, sharing their expertise, critical eye, and encouragement with generations of aspiring artists. The impact they have made on Penland is impossible to quantify, and it was truly a joy to thank them for their dedication to this place and the work that we do.

We hope the slideshow below is a fitting tribute to all the fun, the hard work, the beauty, and the camaraderie that went into this year’s auction. We’re already looking forward to doing it again with you all next year on August 10-11, 2018!



Want more? See the photo booth pictures from Friday, Saturday, and the volunteer party on Saturday night!


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Highlights of the 2016 Benefit Auction


With concentrations set to start this Sunday, we’re working on wrapping up the last details of summer so we can turn our attention to the fall ahead. But we certainly can’t move on to a new season without mentioning one of the big highlights of every Penland summer: the Annual Benefit Auction!

This year’s was a rousing success, and we owe that success to the hard work and support of so many of you in the Penland community—from our 263 contributing artists and 216 volunteers to the 161 newcomers who joined us this year for their very first auction weekend. Through art sales, ticket sales, gifts, sponsorships, and more, you helped us to raise over $698,000 of income for Penland programs, including $141,810 of Fund-a-Need support for Penland’s new Northlight building. We are beyond grateful. As Kari Rinn said during her art talk over auction weekend, “Just a few days at Penland creates an impact that can be felt for years or even a lifetime.” Your support means Penland can continue to serve as an inspiring and vibrant community for artists well into the future. Thank you.

Auction weekend is also a time to recognize those in our community who have made a particularly lasting and cherished impact on Penland students. This year, we couldn’t have chosen a more deserving soul than Paulus Berensohn to name as our 2016 Outstanding Artist Educator. Paulus is an embodiment of the generosity and creative discovery that make Penland so special, and it was an honor and a joy to celebrate him as an instructor, neighbor, and friend. The tribute to Paulus below was presented under the tent on August 12.



We hope you can carry forward this summer’s spirit of creativity and celebration into the season ahead. If you need a little help, might we suggest taking a peek at the pictures from the auction photo booth below for inspiration?

Auction Weekend Photo Booth
Volunteer Party Photo Booth