Holiday Art Auction raises scholarship money

By Sydni Anderson, Contributing writer

If one were to paint the scene of this year’s Murray State Holiday Art Auction, they would need an excess of black paint, an appreciation for detail and all the talent of the artists whose pieces were displayed.

This annual event took place on Nov. 11 and transformed the Clara M. Eagle Gallery into a lively atmosphere of art, music, food and alcohol (courtesy of the cash bar). The auction starred pieces created by Murray State students, faculty, alumni and local artists. The night started off with the silent auction that included jewelry, plates, portraits and pottery. Several hours into the event, the live auction commenced, offering an array of pieces presented by black-clad “runners” in gloves. Among the audience members bidding on the art pieces was Murray State President Bob Davies and faculty.

Walton Kromer, sophomore from Lexington, Kentucky, said he had donated art work and it was purchased in previous years at the Holiday Art Auction. He said the first time somebody bought his art was a gratifying experience.

“I honestly felt proud.” He said. “I was like, ‘Wow, somebody bought my work?’”

Kelsey Fannin, junior from Owensboro, Kentucky, said the auction was the first she had pieces in. She said having people see her art was nerve-wracking.

“It’s like ‘Oh, is my work as good as the other person’s?’” she said. “I can compare and contrast and look at somebody else’s art, and I might get nervous thinking mine might not be good enough, but I’m also inspired by other people’s work.”

Fannin also described a hardship of art, saying if a person is not selling any of their work it becomes a financial struggle to pay bills and continue doing what they love. Still, she said she believes that if a person has the courage to put their time, money and effort into their work, they can succeed.

Scholarships can aid these “struggling artists” since the proceeds of the Murray State Holiday Art Auction go towards student scholarships. Antje Gamble, chairwoman of the committee that ran the auction, said the event was formed from the desire to find new ways to generate money for student scholarships in the arts. Students have to either donate artwork to the auction or work the event in order to be eligible for the scholarship. There were around 200 art pieces donated to the auction, and the live auction raised around $6,500, Gamble said.

Sara Martin, the auctioneer of the event, said part of the success of the event could be attributed to community effort. Martin said people volunteered their time and there weren’t any administrative costs. Even the live music, a quartet including Murray State music lecturer Brent Webster and three of his students, was the product of volunteer work.

“This event is unusual within the realm of the university because we spend every penny of what we fundraise tonight towards student scholarships,” Martin said. “We give the money right back to the students.”

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Photos by Kelli O’Toole/The News