A way to support the arts locally, and purchase some admirable additions for the home or office, is right around the corner.
The Art League at Rend Lake College is hosting its annual fall art auction on Oct. 19 at Pheasant Hollow Winery, located three miles south of the college. The art auction is held every year to raise funding for the art program at the college.
A preview will start at 4:30 p.m, followed by the auction at 5:30 p.m., and everyone is welcome to attend. Costumes will be worn by featured artists and workers, but are optional for guests.
The Art League is a group of RLC students – artists and otherwise – and a faculty sponsor. Students display their work in the annual fall auction and a show in the spring. Through each show, students have the chance of earning scholarships for their own education or for a future art student at RLC.
According to Art Professor Therese Melena, the fall art auction is the only auction she knows of that is completely self-supported by students and where all proceeds go directly into the program or facets of the program.
In addition to the amazing artwork on display, this year’s auction will feature theater performers and members of the RLC Madrigal music ensemble. Food and beverages will also be provided.
The cost to support the local art community and enjoy everything the auction has to offer is only $5 per person.
A few pieces of art at the auction will be designated to raise funds for the Art League’s trip to Chicago where they will attend the Sculptural Objects Fine Arts Show, or SOFA Show. Melena said about 20 of the 30 to 35 art students at RLC are signed up for the fall auction so far.
The Rend Lake College Foundation is able to provide a few scholarships each year for art students to attend RLC, but there is always a need for more, according to Melena.
“Art students are poor and they need scholarships,” said one of Melena’s students.
The art auction is a chance for the public to not only support the arts through the educational programming at their local community college, but to “purchase some of the most fantastic artwork anywhere,” Melena said.
Carmen Gray of Christopher is a non-traditional student in RLC’s art program. One of her pieces will be featured in the auction.
“It’s just great to be a part of something and show my art and what I’ve learned here at Rend Lake College,” she said.
Gray said she wants a good turnout at the auction and she hopes some of those in attendance are inspired by the works on display.
“Art is dying,” she added. “Hopefully, people will see something that inspires them. If they buy it, the art will move forward and the money will provide more art education in the future.”
Another art student, Linda Schell of Dahlgren, is actually a business major enrolled in an art class. She is donating four of her husband’s wonderful woodworking pieces. She said her husband, Randy Schell, uses woodworking to relax and to have something that he, Linda and their two daughters can enjoy doing together.
“I love to help people with their events and I volunteer for a lot of things,” she said. “If [Melena] asks, I usually offer to help.”
Not all the art featured at the auction will be created by students. Some will come from RLC alumni who want to give back to the program in which they learned their skills.
The Art League met Thursday and discussed the possibility of hosting additional fundraising events, such as a bake sale and a performance of mini-plays with the combined efforts of individuals in the creative writing club, theater department and music department at RLC.
In typical form, RLC English Professor Rob Little will be filling the role of master of ceremony at the auction.
“He does a fantastic job,” Melena said. “He donates his time for this event every year.”
For more information on the annual Art League Fall Art Auction, call Melena at 618-437-5321, ext. 1747.