Saturday night live: combo art auction heads for finale

Think combo and you may visualise a small band or perhaps something on a fast-food menu, but for the Old School Arts Centre it’s a novel way to attract the best prices for 60 donated artworks while also raising funds for Raglan’s annual  arts weekend next Easter.

An open auction this Saturday night will be the second part of the combo and finally decide who in the community walks away with some of the best of  Raglan’s contemporary artworks – from paintings and pottery to photography, taxidermy, flax weaving and fine drawings.

The eclectic mix of works has been on exhibition for the past six weeks at the old school in Stewart Street where a steady stream of art lovers has called by to bid in the first part of the combo, a silent auction.

Who’s got what will be revealed at the venue this Saturday night, with real estate auctioneer Julie Hanna wielding the hammer.

“There’s an awesome lineup of stunning pieces to be won,” centre manager Jacqueline Anderson told the Chronicle. “And this (the open auction) is the final push.” 

Spot prizes and refreshments will be on offer, she said, and bargains are to be had.

All artworks up for grabs have been generously donated by well known local artists like Jane Galloway, Claudia Grutke, Jillian Lankshear and Richard Gemmell. Also included are ceramics by The Monster Company, Annick Faubert’s unique taxidermy, art by Raglan Floral Co and much more.

Early bidders can take their chances on what they’ve offered in the silent auction, but the organisers’ advice is to also come along on Saturday night.  “You will need to return to check your bid hasn’t been outdone by someone else, so try to get to the live auction or you may be outbid.”

Although funds raised will go straight back into supporting Raglan Arts Weekend in 2020, the old school centre supports a myriad of other community events – Raglan Arts to Wear, Raglan Film Festival, the creative market, local exhibitions, clay and art classes, music nights and movie screenings – which all ultimately benefit.

It is not unusual to have 100 to 150 people – including school groups rehearsing productions at this time of year – use the heritage-listed building in just one day, says Jacqueline. Fundraising is “ongoing” for the centre’s committee members, she adds.

At the close of Saturday night’s auction the old school will then be readied for the opening of the annual Raglan Spirit of Christmas Art Show a week later.  It’s now in its fifth year – “an institution”, as fundraising stalwart and potter Suzanne Giessen-Prinz points out.

A variety of art priced from $5 to $500 will be on sale for the festive season.

Everything from carefully constructed driftwood Christmas trees to colourful glass Heartbeads, handcrafted knives and fabric art has a “unique” Raglan flavour, says Suzanne.

Consumables such as festively packaged brownie mixture and, for the second year running, locally baked Christmas cakes in handcrafted clay pots will also make popular gifts.    

The show runs for a fortnight, specifically raising funds to complete the $488,000 two-storey building which now stands proud behind the Old School Arts Centre. It will provide additional capacity to meet the needs of Raglan’s growing community, from clayshed downstairs to an impressive performance space upstairs.

There’s just $90,000 to go, sighs Suzanne, who’s been leading fundraising efforts now for six years and – along with a team of dedicated, art-loving volunteers – is looking forward to this new creative hub opening by next Easter.  

Edith Symes

*Creative Raglan Art Auction, Saturday November 23 from 6pm.

*Raglan Spirit of Christmas Art Show opening night Saturday November 30 from 7pm.