Art auction gifts keep on giving
"Paying it forward" is how fine arts chair James Grubola describes The Annual Art Auction.
"It is the only auction where the proceeds from the sale of art go entirely back into the visual arts community in the form of scholarships and visual art training," Grubola said.
More than 100 works of art by local and regional artists — including faculty and alumni of the Department of Fine Arts — have been donated for the Friday, Nov. 12, event at the Water Tower, 3005 River Road.
Co-sponsored by the Louisville Visual Arts Association (LVAA) and UofL's Hite Art Institute, the auction raised $12,000 last year for the institute's Mary Spencer Nay Scholarship Endowment plus another $34,000 for LVAA's fine arts classes for children. The Nay scholarship at UofL is one of two major grants offered to a graduating high school senior or student beginning his or her undergraduate education in art.
Amber Schultz, a 2010 graduate of Floyd Central High School, in New Albany, Ind., is this year's recipient.
"It was a bit intimidating," Schultz said, recounting the scholarship interview process where a dozen or so faculty and staff members from the department quizzed her about her portfolio.
"I thought I talked too fast, but they said I was articulate in explaining my work and what I was trying to say through my art," Schultz said. "The scholarship helped both my parents' budget (her mother is an art teacher at New Albany High School) and my college loan needs to concentrate on my art."
Schultz already had been successful before receiving the scholarship. She won two "golden keys" for her portfolios in painting and photography as a senior; a piece she did as a junior won a congressional district honor and was on display for a year in Washington, D.C.; Ed Hamilton, well-known alumnus and sculptor, honored her when he bought an imaginative "giraffe" bird bath that she helped create in high school.
The young artist — dressed in a tuxedo — will hold up works for bidding at the auction. One of those will be a "Centennial Folio" from the College of Arts and Sciences, which includes 10 pieces by outstanding artists, including a print by noted alumnus Sam Gilliam.
Schultz said she was surprised to find a personal link with Nay, the namesake for her scholarship. An artist and good friend of the family had Nay as a teacher before Nay's retirement in 1979 and noted her inspiring influence.
Nay, an accomplished artist born and raised in Louisville, was also a connecting thread linking UofL with the origins of LVAA as director of the Art Center School that was offered by the Art Center Association. The association was housed in what is now home to the Honors Program on the Belknap Campus before eventually moving to the historic water tower on River Road and renamed the Louisville Visual Art Association.
She became the first full-time studio art faculty hired by the Department of Fine Arts in 1959 with the support of a bequest by Allen and Marcia Hite that established the Hite Art Institute which took over the art school. She passed away in 1993 at the age of 80.
The Annual Art Auction will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $75 for LVAA members, $100 for everyone else and must be purchased in advance. More information is available at LVAA.