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Art auction brings in record amount

Quick Draw in the Mountains raised a record amount of money this year off a live and silent auction that supports budding artists and art in the schools.

A record number of artists participated this year. There were 19 artists in the Quick Draw portion of the event, where artists have one hour to complete a piece of artwork. Another 22 artists did art demonstrations — such as glass blowing, wood carving, weaving and pottery — during the event. Demonstration artists made pieces ahead of time that were sold in a silent auction during the event.

The 41 pieces sold in the silent and live auction fetched a total of $14,800. Artists keep half of what their piece sells for, and the other half — $7,400 this year — is donated to artistic causes. The largest portion provides mini-grants for art teachers in public schools. A teacher from Jonathan Valley Elementary, Autumn Hall, has used Quick Draw grants to develop a ceramics program. At Meadowbrook Elementary, Renee Mackey purchased digital cameras so students could illustrate stories they had written.

“We put this money right back into art in the schools,” Wagoner said. “In the school budget traditionally art receives the least amount of money. Every child can do art and it increases their self worth and it often contributes to their success in other areas.”

A portion of the proceeds goes toward college scholarships for Haywood County high school seniors who are pursuing an art-related field. A small grant is also made to the Waynesville Gallery Association.

“I think it was a terrific success,” said Faye Wagoner, co-chair of the Quick Draw committee. “I heard wonderful compliments from the artists and from the guests.” Sandra Hayes-Highsmith is also co-chair of the event.

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Wagoner attributed the record proceeds to the competitive bidding in the live auction. Three of the pieces created during the one-hour fetched more than $1,000. Bids for the pieces generally started at $100, but reached the $400 range within seconds of bidding, with numerous pieces climbing to $600, $700 and $800.

Dan Wright and Wendy Biller, artists who attended the event, forked over more than $2,000 in the auction for three of their fellow artists’ work — namely Gretchen Clasby, Andy Bailey and Ann Vasalick’s rendering of Frog Level.

“We love to buy local artists work, and we especially like their originals when we can get them,” Wright said. “Where can you get an original Vasalik for $1,000 bucks?”

Wright and Biller donate all the proceeds from their pieces to the art funds.

“We feel so strongly with the cause that we work with some of the art teachers and tell them if they run short of funds to give us a call,” Wright said.

The auctioneer, Earl Smith from Hendersonville, donates his services for Quick Draw each year. Smith ran a lively auction, at times encouraging bidders to raise the ante against themselves to support the cause, often triggering another flurry of bids.

— By Becky Johnson

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