For supporters of the arts, the annual auction and sale at Wichita Center for the Arts is one of the most anticipated of the year.
And this year's rendition should be particularly rewarding, says John Boldenow, theater director for the center. Not only is it the first time the center will showcase a featured artist, but it also expects to have about 500 items for sale or auction, he said.
Boldenow has the responsibility of appraising all of the pieces as well as deciding what is going to be in the live auction that he will preside over.
"For the live auction we tried to choose items from a variety of price ranges rather than everything being at the high end," he said. "We want to make it fun and enable everyone to get in on the action."
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Works by the featured artist, Marlin Rotach of Kansas City, will be included in the auction, he said.
"His work is just wonderful," he said. "The way in which he handles light in his watercolors is extraordinary."
The sale and auction take place Saturday night at the center. That's just one week before another popular art auction in Wichita, ArtAid, which is on Oct. 10.
"What makes this event different from the ArtAid auction is that this auction will carry international and vintage art versus the regional and contemporary art which is featured in the ArtAid auction," he said. "People have the wonderful opportunity to do both, because they are both for very worthwhile causes and they are entirely different from one another."
This is the first year that the Center's Arcade Sale will be combined with the auction. For the Arcade Sale, which is already under way, patrons and supporters donate objects such as china, glassware, furniture, silver and other estate sale-type items. Proceeds from it benefit the center's theater department.
The auction of fine and decorative art has always taken place the first weekend in October. The silent auction is already open so people can stop by to make early bids before the auction closes on Saturday night.
"There is something for everyone in this auction," Boldenow said. "There is an enormous range of items donated to this event."
There are works donated by local artists such as John Ernatt and John Boyd as well as historical pieces such as two paintings by the French Impressionist Gaston La Touche.
There is 19th century blue and white English pottery, works by Robert Motherwell and surrealist Leon Kelly, and colorful glassware by famed designer Sonya Blomdahl.
Boldenow is expecting a large attendance Saturday.
"I read the other day that the definition of an art patron is a person who buys paintings that they don't need. They no longer have space, but they want to support what is going on in the arts community. I think there will be many people that come Saturday evening in that spirit as well as serious collectors."
If you go
fine art and decorative art auction and arcade sale
What: Fundraising auction and sale
Where: Center for the Arts, 9112 E. Central
When: 7 p.m. Saturday. Live auction begins at 8:30. The Arcade Sale and Silent Auction are going on now and are free during the center's regular business hours, 1-5 p.m. today and Saturday.
How much: Admission to the event is $20 a person.
For more information, call 316-634-2787.