Gallery looking to raise money with “treasures”

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NATCHEZ — ArtsNatchez is looking for trash that can be someone else’s treasure.

The not-for-profit art gallery is hosting a silent auction fundraiser to auction off donated items from the community.

Fundraiser organizer and ArtsNatchez treasurer Mary Ann Spell said she proposed this fundraising idea after being part of a similar fundraiser in Fairhope, Ala., where she was the treasurer of an artists association.

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“This fundraiser takes what other people aren’t using anymore or don’t want anymore and offers it up for other people to bid on,” she said. “It truly is making another man’s trash someone else’s treasure.”

The gallery has been accepting donations since Oct. 1 and so far more than 100 items are up for bid, Spell said.

Items can be dropped off at the gallery, 425 Main St., and will be displayed for bids there. As soon as items are dropped off, the bidding begins, Spell said.

“We will accept donations up until the auction ends on Dec. 3,” she said. “We aren’t turning anyone away.”

Bidding on most items begins at $5. Spell said minimum bids may be placed on a few items of high value.

Donations can be art pieces, decorative pieces or other items that people aren’t using anymore.

“The great thing about this set up is we don’t have to ask merchants to donate anything, and we don’t have to ask our artists to donate anything,” she said. “Those groups are asked for so much, we just want something you weren’t using anyway.”

With such low starting prices, Spell said the auction is a great way for young adults or young couples to begin an art collection without expending a lot of cash.

“I can almost guarantee that there are going to be items that go for $10, $15 or $20 in this auction,” she said. “There are going to be some great bargains.”

Spell said this is the first time the gallery has staged a fundraiser. Until this time, they operated on patron dues, donations and commission received from art pieces sold at the gallery.

Artists who are members are required to work one day a month at the gallery to keep costs down.

“We don’t have payroll expenses,” Spell said. “We just have the normal operating expenses of the gallery.”

ArtsNatchez recently moved to a new location on Main Street, which has increased foot traffic into the gallery and also interest among artists.

Spell said since the move six more artists have expressed interest in becoming members of ArtsNatchez.

Spell said with the money raised at the auction the group hopes to renovate the back room of the gallery to allow for more display space for more artists.

“It is great for the artists and the community to have a prominent display space in downtown Natchez,” she said.

All donations are tax deductible.

Donations can be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday through Saturday at the gallery. Bidding can also be done during those hours.

The auction winners will be announced at a First Friday reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3. For more information, contact the gallery at 601-442-0043.