One Last Hoorah
Six times throughout the summer, diligent artists and small-time collectors rally at the Penland School of Crafts for the bimonthly scholarship auction.
Organized by Lisa Gluckin and an army of volunteers, the auctions celebrate and support the artistic vision of Penland students, past, present, and future.
The combined auctions generate more than $110,000 in scholarships for prospective Penland students. Since 45 percent of students receive scholarships, the event enables artists of all income levels to hone their talent as a part of the Penland community.
For the artists, the gala marks the end of their session at Penland. There’s an intimate, boisterous energy; having lived and created side by side for two-and-a-half weeks, the artists engage in friendly banter, laughter, and reminisce as they admire each other’s donated works.
This playful event also brings serious talent: world-class artisans and former Penland students, including potter Cynthia Bringle and metalworker Kent Anderson Leslie, who donated items for the auction.
For the collectors, it’s an opportunity to snag deals on remarkable art. “This would have cost thousands in a gallery,” Leslie told me, running her fingers over an iron-and-wood wall hanging made by her former instructor. At Monday’s scholarship auction, Leslie walked away with this gem for a scant $110.
This weekend, Penland will host an auction of vastly larger scale. The 26th Annual Benefit Auction, one of the biggest craft collecting events in the Southeast, is expected to pull $400,000 for Penland’s operating costs. While Saturday night is sold out, tickets to Friday’s auction are still available for $200.
Find out more at www.penland.org