Annual ornament auction a focal point in local arts, Dec. 6, with food, wine, and cocktail tastings
By Tad Wilkes
The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council has a challenging role in working with local artists to encourage their creative efforts while offering programming that engages the community. Daily, the balance between educational programs and staging a new play or literary event has the staff, board, and volunteers juggling roles at a moment’s notice. It is one reason why the Arts Council enjoys the annual ornament auction, which this year is held December 6 from 7 to 9, with tastings from local restaurants and wine and cocktail tastings.
“It is the one time that everyone from local artists, our staff, and volunteers all focus on the same effort.” says Wayne Andrews, director of the Arts Council. Admission is free for Arts Council members; others may simply become members to gain entrance.
The ornament auction was launched over a decade ago in the homes of board members and art supporters. This simple party to support local arts programs involved local artists decorating the host’s home with one-of-a-kind ornaments, which served both as reminders of the talent in the community and unique works of art. The event has become the Arts Council’s largest fundraiser now, requiring the entire Powerhouse Community Arts Center to host the event. The only cost to attend the event is to become a member of the Arts Council.
Jere Allen Raffle
The auction has added a few twists to keep the event fresh, with local restaurants now hosting holiday appetizer tasting, wine and cocktail tasting, and the addition of an annual raffle by artist Jere Allen.
“Jere and Joe Ann Allen have been very kind to the arts council serving as volunteers, board members, and donors.” says Andrews. “They made a very special offer my first year as director of the Arts Council and have been kind enough to renew the offer each year. Jere has donated a painting or original holiday-themed work to the auction each year.”
The work is the only item not auctioned. Instead it is used to encourage donations to the Arts Council. The Allens recognized that an opportunity existed to reach those who could not attend the ornament auction or lived outside of Oxford but still had a connection to the community. So, they encouraged individuals to make a donation to support the arts in Lafayette County. Each year the first 200 people who donate $25 to the Arts Council (not including a membership) when the artwork is unveiled are entered into a drawing to win the artwork.
“It is a great opportunity for the Arts Council, as it allows us to remind current and former residents of Lafayette County why this community is so special,” Andrews says. “Jere adding his talent to our efforts helps us reach beyond our boarders to reach new donors.”
The ornament auction raises funds to support 320 days of arts programs coordinated, supported or organized by the Arts Council. These programs include the popular Oxford Art Crawl, outdoor concerts, educational classes, and programs at The Powerhouse Community Art Center. To become a member or donate to be included in the Jere Allen fundraiser, visit the Arts Council online at oxfordarts.com or call 662-236-6429.