Few fundraisers in the foothills are as thrilling as Center for the Arts Evergreen’s 130 for $130.
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More than 130 art lovers gathered at the gallery Aug. 5 to wait patiently and not-so-patiently to select a piece of artwork created by a local artist. Some participants have been to all of these fundraisers while others were newcomers.
The much-anticipated fundraiser is a testament to the importance of art in the Evergreen community.
In this fundraiser, it’s all about the numbers: 130 people pay $130 to get a piece of art — a painting, photograph, jewelry, sculpture and more — donated by a Front Range artist. Each participant receives a number when buying the ticket, and 130 numbered tokens are put into a container and randomly drawn. Around the gallery are 130 pieces of art — all numbered — and as a participant’s number is called, that person selects the art piece he/she wants. Each selector has 60 seconds to make a decision.
Actually this year, the fundraiser could have been called 134 for $130 since 134 tickets were sold and 134 pieces of art were available, CAE Executive Director Lisa Nierenberg told the crowd of artists, artwork selectors and friends.
Veteran participants in the fundraiser — who note sometimes it’s not just about the art piece but about the artist — have systems, so they can race into the gallery to get the piece they want. Some have numbering systems to keep track of the art they want and which have been taken.
Wendy Yanish with Huiting Wealth Management Group, for example, uses her clipboard and tiny replicas of the artwork to help her track her favorites. This year, she was the first to enter the gallery to make a selection, and she waffled between a Don Sahli painting and Andi Burnum’s “Mary Ann” watercolor of a cow with a wreath of wildflowers. In her 60-second window, she went between the paintings, eventually selecting Sahli’s “Quiet of Winter.”
Yanish explained that the Huiting office was like a gallery with works from local artists. The last couple of years, she has selected toward the end of the event, so she was surprised when she was first.
“How awesome is that!” she exclaimed when she learned she was first.
Following Yanish was Susie Feldmann of St. Louis, Missouri, who went straight to “Dasher,” a copper sculpture by Linda Dollahan, and took it off the wall. Also in the first five was Sherry Buchanan of Evergreen, who selected “Mountain Glow,” an oil painting by David William Ridge.
Buchanan was thrilled with the painting, saying it was of quintessential mountains.
“I feel like I’ve been to this spot,” Buchanan said of the painting. “I feel like it’s (a painting of) home.” A first timer to 130 for $130, she thought it was beginner’s luck that she was selected to pick artwork so early in the process.
The great thing about the fundraiser is the artwork is as different as those selecting them, so many get one of their top choices. For example, Victor Mendez of Boulder, who was the 60th person to make a selection, got exactly the painting he wanted, a mixed-media collage called “Portrait” by Leo Compliment.
For Peter and Peggy Eggers of Evergreen, Japanese ikebana art was the impetus for their selection of Tomiko Ono Yuki’s ink “Snow,” and the couple knew exactly where they would put it in their home.
John and Pandora Erlandson selected Evergreen artist Cathy Jones’ acrylic “Red Trees.” Pandora said she liked the adrenalin rush when making a selection, and they have eight or nine pieces from the fundraiser.
This was Evergreen artist Ann Simpson’s first time watching 130 for $130, though she’s been donating artwork since the event started in 2007.
Before providing directions, Nierenberg thanked the crowd for being art lovers and the artists for lending their talent to the fundraiser.
“We have the most talented group of artists,” she said. “They are the best.”
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