You can bid on some beautiful art, have a great time and not spend a ton of cash at the Figge Art Museum’s annual “Off the Wall” fundraiser Friday, Sept. 23.
The casual, elegant event will be held from 5 p. m. to 8 p.m. in the Quad City Bank & Trust Lobby of the museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport, which will be filled with the 110 pieces of art for sale from local, national, and international artists.
This unique cocktail party features both a silent and live auction of donated one-of-a-kind, high-quality collectible art, antiques, jewelry, furniture, ceramics, glassware, woodwork, and more. The proceeds from this event supports the Figge’s mission of “Bringing Art and People Together.”
Like the hybrid model “Off the Wall” did last year, both in person (last November) and online, this time it is the same format. People can start bidding on items (in silent auction format) Tuesday, Sept. 20th at noon on the Figge website.
Carlie Allison, membership and database coordinator for the Figge, who is organizing the event said that last year’s benefit raised a total of $20,000 (with 100 people attending), its most successful benefit so far. It’s not the museum’s largest benefit — that is the “Art at Heart Gala,” which was held June 25.
The “Off the Wall” silent auction will continue in the lobby (when you can still bid online) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the 23rd, and the live auction of 10 items will start at 7 p.m., for about a half hour.
“The live auction is 10 items that the art committee has selected,” Allison said recently, noting they are not always the most valuable, but a representative variety of pieces. “We do try to put some 3D things or ceramic vases in there.”
“This event is meant to be a little funky, so it’s items like that we really like,” she said. “So those are put in the live auction. The live auction will have something a little more eclectic.”
People who donate items will suggest the minimum bids (and they also get free admission to the benefit), Allison said. Bettendorf artist Pat Bereskin (who closed her gallery in August) and photographer/art collector Hunt Harris (who moved from Moline to Naperville) have donated dozens of pieces for the auction.
All the auction items will be displayed in the Figge lobby starting Tuesday, as well as being featured online, Allison said.
“It’s nice because people who happen to come to the museum, they see, ‘Whoa, what’s going on here?'” she said. “It gets people interested.”
Last year, all but four items sold at the event.
“Because it’s a very new event that we’ve been doing, we’re trying to raise awareness of people to donate,” Allison said of encouraging art donations in general year-round. “All through the year, we start accumulating things (for the auction).”
200 artworks donated
This year, the museum got 200 pieces for “Off the Wall,” with about half that being held for next year, she noted.
The $40 admission fee is good for appetizers and one free drink, and a cash bar. “We really try to keep it a fun atmosphere and we don’t usually have a dinner, because we want people up and about in the lobby, mingling and looking at art, and bidding,” Allison said.
Last year, many people were bidding on their phones, she noted. “We think the hybrid has really worked for us,” she said. Local artist Steve Banks will conduct the live auction.
Bereskin alone donated 50 pieces, including one of her own paintings. Harris donated a comparable number, Allison said.
The event was held later in the fall last year partly because of COVID.
Goal to raise $25,000
The fundraising goal this year is to hit $25,000, Allison said.
“When we do our outreach, some people find it a little imposing,” she said of fundraisers. “I don’t really know anything about art. But this is a super casual event. Just have some wine, bid, have fun. We always tell people to bring your friends.
“The thing about it is, these pieces aren’t an excessive amount of money,” Allison said. “There’s pieces where the starting bid is $20. We hope it goes up, but whoever gets that piece, we just hope they add it to their collection. On our invites, we say ‘buy for yourself, buy for a friend.’ It’s a really fun evening for people.”
Attendees are not required to buy anything, she said. “It’s kind of fun to bid; it’s an easy process,” Allison said. “There’s something for really everybody.”
Last year, the artwork that raised the most ($3,500) was a painting by Maquoketa native Ellen Wagener, who grew up in DeWitt and attended Marycrest College in Davenport and the University of Iowa.
To buy tickets for “Off the Wall,” click HERE.
If you have any questions regarding registration or online bidding, contact Carlie Allison at 563-345-6638.