A longtime tradition returns this month to the Kenai Fine Art Center, which is showcasing its September exhibit, the annual Harvest Art Auction.
The monthlong exhibit spotlights many of the central peninsula’s finest artists and their work, which will be parting ways with its owners for a good cause. The event goes back over a dozen years and is a fundraiser to support the Old Town gallery.
The show flaunts around 30 art pieces from over 20 different artists, including everything from quilted designs, pottery, paper art, photography, painting, metal art and encaustic design.
Shannon Olds, member of the Fine Art Center and Potter’s Guild boards, said the fundraising event has played a big role in fueling the gallery’s passion and bottom line for years.
“It’s been ongoing,” Olds said. “We fundraise every year to make sure we pay the bills and have our receptions for the artists.”
“They keep the doors open and the lights on,” added Marion Nelson, longtime member and vice president of the Fine Art Center.
The traditional auction itself will be Sept. 28 at 6 p.m., but the art silent auction will begin today at 5 p.m. with an opening reception that will feature gourmet appetizers, music and a drawing for door prizes.
Nelson said the event will also allow select art pieces to be purchased at their listed value and the interested members to immediately own the art. Any pieces secured at face value will still be displayed in the gallery for the month of September.
Olds said the creativity and passion shown by artists from the central peninsula provide a window into their minds and ideas.
“If you just think about the artists, this is their expression, this is how they are creative in life,” Olds said. “Some people have creative energy that they release in different ways. I release mine with clay. Some people might release theirs in painting or fiber art.”
Olds entered two pieces of pottery into the show as well, both low-fired pieces made with all organic and inorganic materials, things such as copper and sugar. Olds said she creates objects with a low-fire kiln that heats up to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. Olds said she has dabbled in pottery consistently since 2011, when she began teaching herself the art of the craft.
Soldotna artist and Fine Art Center board member Rachel Grossl also has two pieces entered, including a practical entry in papier-mache shoes. Grossl said 2019 is the first year she’s entered something in the Harvest Art Auction, but her experience working with quilting and fiber arts goes back much farther.
“Pinterest is where I get my inspiration from,” Grossl said with a smile. “But I’ve done it my whole life.”