Penland’s 26th Annual Benefit Auction was a record-breaker, with the highest attendance, the highest total income, and the highest net income in the event’s history. The auction also set records for centerpiece sales and donations to the Fund-A-Need request. Held on August 12 and 13, 2011, the auction drew a total income (including ticket sales, art sales, donations, advertising, and corporate sponsorship) of $614,405, for a net income of approximately $456,405. This year’s Fund-A-Need, which invites patrons to make direct contributions to a particular project, raised $84,100 for a new house for Penland’s core fellows. This project is in the design phase and the school is actively raising funds for its construction.
The auction was attended by 612 patrons and artists. One hundred and ninety-nine volunteers worked with Penland’s staff to run the event. Two hundred and fifty-six current and former Penland instructors, resident artists, and core fellows contributed a total of 247 works in books, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, painting, paper, photography, printmaking, textiles, wood, and mixed media. The 48 steel candleholders made by sculptor Hoss Haley that were the centerpieces on the auction tables sold out immediately and the school took orders for 40 more.
Fred Fenster, metalsmith and professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was honored during the weekend as Penland’s 2011 Outstanding Artist Educator. Fred also led an excellent metals workshop for Penland donors on Friday afternoon. Penland’s gallery director Kathryn Gremley and the director of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art Mark Leach along with several contributing artists presented a gallery talk previewing a number of the auction pieces.
Penland’s resident artists welcomed patrons to their studios on Saturday morning for the ever-popular Coffee at the Barns event. Former Penland core fellow Brian McGee, along with his band, provided musical entertainment on Friday afternoon and evening. Just before the live auction on Saturday, hip hop poet Pierce Freelon delivered an outstanding performance of four short pieces inspired by a visit he made to Penland earlier this year. The weather was relatively cool, although it rained hard twice during the weekend. Nobody seemed to mind too much.
The board and staff of Penland School thanks everyone who came together to make our largest fundraising event of the year such a great success. We hope to do great things with your support.