Gala evening an artful way to raise NKSC funds

by CHRISTINE BIGNEY

galasandyRotarians from Rockford, Sparta, Grand Rapids North and Cedar Springs gathered at the Wolverine World Wide Corporate Headquarters for an evening of camaraderie, hors d’oeuvres and the chance to bid on favorite art pieces, all for a good cause.

galachagallNorth Kent Service Center was the recipient of the Rotarian’s bidding efforts for the 2009 Art Gala. Eight thousand in art was sold, with $2,000 collected from the silent auction. Final donation percentage was not known at press time.

Michele DeSelms from WXMI emceed the program. She introduced John and Connie Decker as the honorary co-chairs. They welcomed the guests to the auction. “2009 is going to be more in need than 2008, Decker said. “Everything you do here tonight raises awareness, but it also does so much more. What we raise tonight will go a long way.”

Sandy Waite, Director of North Kent Service Center stated that the proceeds of the auctions will go towards helping families in the area who are in need. “These are families that never had to use us before. These are your neighbors. These are people who used to donate to Kent Service Center. Now they are coming to us in need of our help.”

Although bidding was sluggish, Auctioneer Steve Little auctioned the art pieces off quickly, showing over 165 items in two hours.

galadeckerAvailable for auction were prints, oils, serigraphs, lithographs, sports collectibles and some various art objects such as a huge eucalyptus wreath and hand blown glass vases.

Little kept the audience alert by interjecting humor throughout the night. While explaining the bidding system, Little said, “…And remember: the more you pay for it, the more you’ll enjoy it.” This elicited a few smiles and laughter.

Some of the highlighted pieces of art during the evening were several hand-signed J. Wooster Scott’s, a hand-signed Salvidor Dali, and a hand-signed Marc Chagall lithograph, which went to a local businessman for $1,975.

Other items auctioned off were a special vacation time-share week anywhere in the world, donated by Rick and Jill Eriksen; a three day, two night package at a beautiful cabin in Kalkaska was donated by RCI; a whole-home humidifier was donated by Blakeslee and Son Heating and Cooling; a stained glass lamp was donated by Marie Schweitzer; and a collector’s doll was donated by Marge and Jack Clark.

“We’re just thrilled we have a fund raiser every other year. Extra money we can really, really use,” Sandy Waite said. “We’re thankful they are willing to do it.”

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