I’ve been very neglectful of my poor blog readers. I apologize. I’m still recovering from my neck surgery and that is going well. But I’ve developed some sort of rash (shingles I think?) on my left side which has made my life pretty miserable. It is finally fading and I have hope that I may actually begin to get a decent night’s sleep soon. So, with all that TMI out of the way, let me tell you what I have been doing.
First, the big project in my life right now is not actually my project but the annual giant fund raiser for the RAL Art Center: The Great Art Heist. I agreed several months ago to be this year’s chairperson for this event before I knew I was going to have neck fusion surgery.
This is the organization’s 70th Anniversary which is a pretty big deal. To celebrate, a lot of things have been over hauled and updated, and I’m going to talk about that in another blog post.
Now, the reason the fund raising event is so important is because the RAL Art Center is a non-profit operation. We provide scholarships to deserving high school students headed to college, help sponsor art programs for local youth, and every year there are new projects and new ideas for community out-reach that we hope will help to introduce our very isolated year round residents to the fine arts. We also support, via the gallery space and classes, our own local amateur and professional artists. To do all this and maintain the space takes a lot of volunteer time and a lot of money.
The fund raiser I’m heading up this year is called The Great Art Heist. In years past it was called the Patron’s Gala, but over decades it has became a much more casual affair and sort of lost a lot of it’s glitz. So, gone are the black ties and formal gowns! This year you can show up and blue jeans and a clean tee-shirt and be perfectly fine although you’ll probably find most folks will be dressed in business casual. We do live in the Northern Neck where casual dress reigns after all.
The way this event works (and has for many, many years), is members of the RAL Art Center donate high quality original art work from their own collections. Some of the art was done by those who are artists and some is from members who are art collectors. Each piece is worth over $150 and juried into the event. These are all put on display in the art center’s exhibit room for the month of June and each is given a unique number. This year there are 103 wonderful pieces of fine art.
Then, folks buy tickets. If you are already a member of RALAC, you can purchase a ticket for just $100. All other tickets are $125. On the evening of the event all the tickets go into a big jar and one after another is pulled. If you are a ticket holder, you will have developed a prioritized wish list before the tickets are pulled (you have all month or at least an hour before the drawing starts to make up your wish list). If your ticket is pulled first and your name is called, you announce the number of the art piece you desire. That piece is pulled off the wall and removed from the list of art still available. Then the second ticket is pulled and the owner of that ticket announces his or her favorite piece of those that remain. And so on until all the tickets are pulled.
Only 103 tickets will be available for sale and you do not need to be present to win, although at some point before hand you do need to prepare your wish list. We will have proxy people available to secure your favorite piece for you.
To help with the fund raising, this year, like last, we will offer those present at the event the opportunity to bid on who actually wins the first draw. The bidding is fast and furious and rather fun in the effort to have the privilege to have the very first pick.
But that is not the only thing going on at this event. All month long we have been running a silent auction of all sort of fun stuff including tickets to a Squirrel’s game (Virginia’s semi-pro baseball team) and free meals at local restaurants, and all sort of other wonderful things which will close promptly at the end of the evening’s intermission. We also are holding a special raffle for one of Ron Taylor’s 3-dimensional works. His wit and whimsey and high quality works makes him a very popular artist in these parts and beyond.
And there will be lots of wonderful food and beverages much of which has been donated by local restaurants and helpful patrons.
There are many hours invested by many people to make this event a success. Our goal this year is to raise at least $10,000.
By the way, we still have two weeks to go and have already sold 49 tickets as of yesterday afternoon, so don’t wait to get yours. You can call the RALAC at 804-436-9309 to purchase.