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!
Potters Jacob Herrmann and Heather McLelland of DevonCourt Pottery pose earlier this week with about a third of the roughly 600 mugs they are making for the 2017 Penland Benefit Auction. Each mug had to be thrown, handled, stamped, initialed, bisque fired, glazed, and wadded before it made it to this table. Then they all got loaded into the kiln on the left for a salt-soda firing that will leave them washed in hues of orange, cream, rust, and more.
To make one of their mugs yours, join us at this summer’s auction for Coffee at the Barns on the morning of Saturday, August 12!
Last night we celebrated the end of fall concentrations in the traditional way—by coming together with friends and community members for an end-of-session scholarship auction. Last night’s was a rousing one, thanks to the incredible work donated by Penland’s students, instructors, residents, staff, and more and the generous bidding of the audience members. At the end of it all, we had raised an astonishing $24,000+ towards Penland’s scholarship funds!
To make the evening even more special was the fact that last night’s auction was the final one to take place in this space. Starting in December, demolitions will begin on the Northlight building, including Gorelick Social Hall and the photo and paper studios. In their place we will build a new Northlight complex that will include social gathering spaces and upgraded studios.
Thank you to everyone who donated, bid, volunteered, and attended to make this final auction a fitting sendoff for our well-loved Northlight. We look forward to welcoming you all into the new building soon for many more years of good art, good friends, and good fun.
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?
One week ago today, all of campus was abuzz with activity for day one of Penland’s 31st Annual Benefit Auction. Hundreds of artists, attendees, volunteers, sponsors, staff, and community members came together to make the weekend a truly special and successful event, complete with hand-painted photo booth backdrops, some very festive outfits, incredible art, and people to match! The Pines looks quite celebratory, no?
The centerpieces at this year’s 30th Annual Penland Benefit Auction were not simply festive and unique—they were also fully functional! Glass artist Sally Prasch constructed over forty elaborate glass horns, each with a glass rainstick to accompany it. In this photo, a group of auction volunteers gives some horns a celebratory toot that could be heard all across campus.