Arts Education

Penland Holds 36th Annual Benefit Auction August 21-27

Penland Auction 2021

Handled Platter, North Carolina Clay. Courtney Martin, artist

Penland School of Craft’s annual benefit auction will take place online again this year, beginning with a silent auction that opens on Saturday, August 21, at 2 p.m. and closes on Friday, August 27, at 6:30 p.m. with a virtual cocktail party. The grand finale for the event will be a streaming live auction with auctioneer Jesse Miller at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 28.

“When we were planning for this year, we didn’t know if a large gathering on campus would be safe, comfortable or even legal, so we decided to take everything we learned last year and put on an even better online event in 2021,” says Penland communications and marketing director Robin Dreyer. “Our supporters have been both loyal and enthusiastic, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

The event includes pieces by 192 artists working in clay, glass, metal, textiles, wood, book arts, printmaking, photography, drawing, painting and other media. All of the work has been donated by the artists, and all proceeds will help support Penland’s educational programs.

“I am always happy to support the school by participating in the auction,” says potter Courtney Martin. “In the past, the live auction was just a damn good time, but even virtually I am psyched to show my work alongside the other incredible makers.”

Penland Auction 2021

Blue Stacked. Alex Bernstein, artist

Martin donated a large functional tray hand built using slabs and coils of North Carolina clay and patterned with layered glazes and resists. Glass artist Alex Bernstein provided an abstract sculpture that juxtaposes the fluidity of glass with the solidity of fused steel.

“Penland has a very deep connection to my family history,” says Bernstein, who, like his parents, has been both a student and a teacher at the school. “I more or less grew up there and I deeply feel their mission and purpose.”

The live auction will also include a tribute to artist Clarence Morgan as Penland’s 2021 Outstanding Artist Educator. Morgan, a professor of art at University of Minnesota, has been teaching painting workshops at Penland for more than 30 years. “Annually, we select an honoree who is both a significant artist in their field and a valued teacher,” says Dreyer. “Clarence has participated in hundreds of exhibitions and has won many grants, fellowships, awards and residencies, and has taught painting and drawing at Penland every few years, generously sharing with anyone engaged in a serious art practice.”

While Penland School looks forward to returning to gala auctions on campus in the future, the online auction offers the convenience of participating without leaving one’s home. Tickets for the 2021 virtual auction are $50, which includes a printed catalog and a bidding account. For $100, participants receive a printed catalog, a bidding account, a handmade mug and party favors for gathering with friends for the livestream.

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