By Donna Beth Weilenman
Arts Benicia is giving aficionados a chance this weekend to buy paintings, drawings and sculptures for $99 or less at one of the gallery’s Fire Sales.
“We don’t do this every year. We do it once in a while,” executive director Larnie Fox said. But the events are popular when they happen. “Last time, we had a line out the door!”
The Arts Benicia Fire Sale is an opportunity for the public to acquire fine art at a popular price.
The works have been created by nearly 20 artists who are selling sketches, studies, prints and sculptures the gallery will set out on tables and even pin to the walls, Fox said.
Among those whose works will be sold are Lowell Dalton, Hedi Desuyo, Mark Eanes, Peg Jackson, Judi Morales Gibson, Ronna Leon, Sargamo Lipton, Teeda Locodo, Geri Lujan, Stephen Schumm, Mary Shaw, Toru Sugita, Bonnie Weidel and Elizabeth Wooley.
“A lot of the artists are going to be there,” he said, and that will give a buyer a chance to meet the person who created the artwork. The gallery and the artists are splitting the sale price 50-50.
For the gallery, it’s a chance to raise some money during its historically leaner months, Fox said. “We need this. It’s coming up on our ‘Summer Run Out of Money Before the Auction’ time.”
For artists, the event is a good thing, too – their smaller works get a better display than they might in other exhibit situations, Fox said.
But that’s not the only event going on at Arts Benicia this weekend.
Out in the parking lot, people will be assembling bamboo vehicles, based on Benicia High School students’ scale model designs.
The vehicles will be wheeled down First Street during the Torchlight Parade July 3, when anyone who supports the arts and has a fancy hat to wear will be welcome to join Arts Benicia patrons at 6 p.m. July 3 at its entry’s gathering spot on B Street. “We need marchers!” Fox said.
Fox is calling the construction event one of the gallery’s “Open Makes,” similar to a Maker Fair opportunity.
“It’s a really cool project,” Fox said.
Anyone who likes may visit the gallery and participate, although Fox urged them to bring sun block and other sun protection. The construction project takes place in the gallery parking lot, where participants will learn about tying lengths of bamboo together to make the vehicles.
He was inspired to build the full-scale versions after visiting several of art teacher Sean Thompson’s classes at Benicia High School last April. There, he saw students building the vehicles on a scale of one inch equaling one foot.
He got the idea to ask people to join gallery friends to take the students’ designs and turn them into full size vehicles.
Bamboo Depot, a Benicia firm in the Benicia Industrial Park, donated the materials, Fox said. “We’ve got all the supplies we need.”
The full scale models will use bicycle wheels. They won’t be self-propelled – some of the fancy-chapeaued participants will help roll the vehicles along the parade route.
The Arts Benicia Fire Sale will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the gallery, 991 Tyler Street No. 114. The Open Make Bamboo Vehicle construction project will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Arts Benicia parking lot at the same address.
Those interested may call the gallery at 707-747-0131, or email it at email@example.com. The gallery’s website is artsbenicia.org