Arts Craft Arts

Penland School of Craft’s 38th Annual Benefit Auction

Penland School of Craft will host its 38th annual benefit auction on Friday and Saturday, August 25 and 26, on its campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This gala weekend is the school’s largest public event and most important fundraiser of the year.

Standing Roses. James Henkel, artist

“It is our great pleasure to gather together Penland supporters, artists, staff and an incredible crew of volunteers to put on a wonderful event that celebrates creative education and beautiful objects made by human hands,” says Penland’s director Mia Hall. “Along with all of this, we also succeed in raising important funds for the school. We hope you’ll join us.”

The weekend starts with a Friday afternoon reception in the Penland Gallery, which features a three-person show in the exhibition hall, a special show of contemporary jewelry and the sales gallery with work in many different media by artists affiliated with the school. This will be followed by artist demonstrations in Penland’s clay, glass and iron studios.

The event continues with exhibitions of the auction work, two silent auctions and a live auction conducted by auctioneer Jesse Miller. On Friday evening there will be a cocktail party with substantial hors d’oeuvres. Saturday morning brings an open house at the studios of Penland’s resident artists accompanied by beverages and light breakfast fare. Guests are invited to select a handmade souvenir mug. The Saturday afternoon live auction is preceded by a catered luncheon under the auction tent.

Green Murrine Egg. Hayden Wilson, artist

Between the three auctions, 182 pieces will be sold with all proceeds benefiting Penland’s educational programs. The work includes pieces in clay, glass, metals, textiles, wood, book arts and two-dimensional media including photography, printmaking, drawing and painting. Among others, bidders can purchase pieces by craft metalsmith Tanya Crane, wood sculptor Sylvie Rosenthal, glass artist Hayden Wilson, mixed-media sculptor Daniel Essig, steel sculptor Hoss Haley, potter Courtney Martin, photographer James Henkel and weaver Catharine Ellis.

During the weekend Penland will honor blacksmith, sculptor, teacher and mentor Elizabeth Brim as the 2023 Outstanding Artist Educator. Brim began her career in metals with a Penland workshop in the 1980s. Since then she has become one of the most prominent artists working in the realm of forged steel sculpture. Through her workshop teaching and many friendships, she has instructed and inspired hundreds of blacksmiths.

Penland School of Craft is located at 67 Doras Trail, Bakersville. Tickets for the weekend are $395. A ticket for Friday only is $255, and Saturday tickets are $285. Absentee bidding is available for all auction pieces for a fee of $25, which includes an auction catalog. Complete information about the Penland benefit auction is available at or by calling 828.765.2354, ext. 1209.

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