■ Annual event serves as one of nonprofit’s big fundraisers; art available for viewing Sunday
By Keri Luiz
Every September for the last 19 years, art lovers and collectors from all over the Bay Area have converged on Benicia.
They’ve come for Arts Benicia’s annual auction, one of the premier art sales in the region that, according to Cherry Moore of the nonprofit’s board of directors, keeps getting better and better.
“Last year was voted the best ever,” said Moore, who is leading the team of board members, employees and volunteers in organizing the Sept. 22 event.
And that means this year, Arts Benicia is once again seeking to outdo themselves.
With swaths of shibori cloth — a form of Japanese dye work — hanging from the Clock Tower rafters as a colorful backdrop to the evening’s festivities, bidding will be broken into both a silent and live auction, overseen by returning auctioneer Steve Gizzi of Gizzi & Reep law firm.
Meanwhile, a slide show of the artwork up for auction will be shown. The Rellik Tavern will provide cocktails, and First Street Café is doing appetizers.
As art appreciators mingle, photographer Michael Van Auken will do a photo session for the attendees.
“It’s going to be really cool, because there are going to be these big sheets of shibori hanging, and you’re going to be walking through that shibori as the pictures are being taken,” Moore said. “It’s not just a photo session.”
Think of it as an interactive, walk-through photo booth, she said. “It’s very cool, and it’s free,” and the images will be available for people to download from the Web.
Of course, it’s really all about the art. Eighty artists have donated work, which is on display Sunday at Arts Benicia, 991 Tyler St., from noon to 5 p.m. for prospective buyers to see before the auction.
Among hose who have donated works: Bill Harsh, Carol Dalton, Jerrold Turner, Nikki Basch-Davis and Pam Dixon.
“We’ve got some very good art,” Moore said. “It’s going to be a very colorful show.”
Tickets to the 20th annual Arts Benicia Benefit Art Auction are $35 per person or $60 for couples in advance, and can be purchased by visiting www.artsbenicia.org. They go up to $45 and $70 at the door.
The auction will take place Sept. 22 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Benicia Clock Tower, 1189 Washington St. Directions are at the website.