Utah Expressway, oil painting by Richard Niewerth, photo by Richard Niewerth
How many fundraisers have you been to where you experience a lively and energetic party that includes food and wine donated by the best restaurateurs in town, lovely music, AND a work of art to take home that is equal to or greater than the value of your ticket? Guaranteed. Seems incredible, right? Who would do that?!
There’s only one non-profit organization I know of that offers this insanely crazy fundraiser: The Maryland Federation of Art, or MFA. On Sunday, October 25, from 6 to 9 pm, the MFA is hosting its popular and exciting “Collector’s Choice” event at Annapolis Volvo (333 Buschs Frontage Road, Annapolis). The goal of this event is to make it not only easy for you to support MFA in its mission to bring art by living artists to the community, but also to make it fun and truly memorable.
If you are a beginning collector, there isn’t a better place to start. If you already are a collector, then you know this is a terrific opportunity. All artworks are equal to or greater than the value of your ticket, but many are valued much higher. It’s unusual, if not impossible, to find good art at such a bargain anywhere else. Collectors “in the know” are tried and true followers who come every year, for the art, and for the party.
Attendees at the 2014 Collector’s Choice event, photograph courtesy of MFA.
Here’s how it works: One ticket purchase of $185 gets you one selection of artwork, and admission for two people to the event. You’ll have the opportunity to preview the artwork this week at Circle Gallery, Oct 16 through 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Thursday, October 22, from 5 to 7 p.m., during a preview reception. The staff will give you a list of the works for your reference, and a sheet for you to slot in your top twenty or so favorites. You also have one last chance to look around for the first half hour at the event itself, after the doors open at 6 p.m. But keep in mind you’ll want to eat, drink and connect, and it gets lively pretty quickly, so come prepared with your list! There is a Sponsor Reception at 5 p.m. so, for $65 more, you get to come early and preview in a less crowded environment before the floodgates open. Come in jeans or sequins, whatever you prefer, but wear comfy shoes because you will be standing and milling about for a while, though I promise you the night goes by in the blink of an eye.
Alex Cortright, DJ at WTMD, has been the MC at Collector’s Choice for six years, and he pulls the first ticket number at 6:30 pm. You have your list of favorites, you wait to hear your number called, and the tension and excitement begins: The first ticket holder called will get his or her first choice! Is that lucky person’s choice one of your top twenty? Not to worry… while there are a few works that just about everyone loves, the artwork varies in media and style so greatly that there is something that appeals to everyone.
Summer Forever, acrylic painting by Patrice Drago, photo by Patrice Drago.
You’ll find sculptures, photographs, collagraph prints, watercolors, realistic and abstract oil paintings and acrylic, and more, all donated by MFA artist members, who are encouraged to donate their best work. They do, because it is their introduction to you, their potential new collector. I contribute a piece to this event, and I always give one of my best pieces because it represents me as a brand. If someone isn’t familiar with my work, then there is only one opportunity to make a first impression. All of my colleagues feel the same way. My piece this year is valued at $1,475, and I am not alone in donating a high value piece.
Joann Vaughan, MFA Executive Director, offers a bottle of champagne to the ticket holder whose number is called last. She likes to tell the story of when she offered it one year, and the recipient said: “I don’t need a bottle of champagne; I got a piece of art that was in my top five!” Last year, I was picked ninth from last and truly did get one on my top twenty list.
Collector’s Choice is an important fundraiser for the Maryland Federation of Art. The funds raised through this event allow MFA, as a nonprofit organization, to keep exhibiting art in Circle Gallery and alternate locations. MFA has grown and expanded, with a membership approaching 500. It provides a service unlike any other in the area, creating exposure for emerging, mid-career and professional artists and connecting the community with contemporary and non-traditional artwork unlike what may be found in other venues. It’s a good feeling just to support such a terrific organization, and you’ll take home a memory for a lifetime.
See you there!