"Going, going, and sold!" With the bang of the auctioneer's gavel, Hospitality House's annual art auction this Thursday aims to make art accessible for both buyers and artists.
The fundraiser, which supports Hospitality House's Community Arts Program, is now in its 32nd year. It offers art from low-income and disadvantaged artists from the local community alongside art from more established artists, who donate their work for the auction.
Accessibility has long been a key value for the program, director of development Allan Manalo told Hoodline, its exclusive media sponsor.
"One of our main goals is to give our neighborhood artists an opportunity to hang side-by-side with notable artists represented by prestigious galleries," he said of the program. "We have had artists who managed to go onto other galleries and other shows and display their work."
This year, the auction received 150 submissions from artists through the Community Arts Program and others that were donated. Approximately 25 - 30 pieces are from artists who go through the program.
Due to limited wall space and the abundance of artwork submitted for consideration, the 116 pieces selected for the auction are chosen through a jury committee composed of gallery professionals, artists, and community members.
The 116 pieces of art selected for the auction are chosen by a committee through a jury system, which Manalo said has "encouraged CAP studio artists to step up their game" for acceptance.
"The artwork that’s coming out of our studio is phenomenal," said Manalo. "That’s been our goal: to get the folks utilizing our program to become professional artists, if they want, and express themselves."
While 24 of the pieces have already been selected for the live auction, Hospitality House is also asking the community to pick the final artwork through a preview on Facebook. The one with the most Likes will be auctioned off.
During the live auction, which takes place from 7–8:15pm, 25 pieces are sold. There's also a silent auction that takes place on three color-coded walls, with the first wall closing 15 minutes after the live auction ends. Each wall then closes 15 minutes apart.
Ticket prices for the auction are $50 at the door or $40 in advance, which includes hors d'oeuvres and drinks. For those who can't attend, absentee bidding is also available. Although the average starting bid is $90, some items have opening bids as low as $20 or $30.
And if auction winners would like to pay for their new artwork in installments, Hospitality House also offers a layaway program, with plans up to six months.
This year, the nonprofit is holding its auction at Minnesota Street Project, the art gallery complex in the Dogpatch neighborhood.
"It’s a good opportunity for our artists to be presenting at Minnesota Street Project," explained Manalo, "because of the prominence and the name that it holds."
Funds raised will go towards "keeping the doors open" for the Community Arts Program, which was first established in 1969. While artists usually keep 100 percent of the proceeds from the Community Art Program's gallery shows, they keep 25 percent if their work sells during the auction.
Many donate that 25 percent to give back to the program, Manalo said.
Despite the auction's excitement and the critical funds that it raises (in the past, the auction has raised $70,000), the focus is still on the Tenderloin community that Hospitality House serves—and the homegrown artists it helps to foster.
"All people are equal and worthy of respect," Manalo said. "These are artists who live in SROs, living on the streets, in vans. They're dealing with social barriers or mental barriers, but our doors are always open."
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