This Friday, Telluride’s art community will find its utopia as the Ah Haa School for the Arts unveils its 18th annual art auction, themed “Artopia.”
Artopia will provide an ideal and perfect place where, for one evening, Telluride’s creative beauty will reign supreme. As Ah Haa Executive Director Rachel Lee explains, “We define ‘artopia’ as the perfect place to let your imagination run and your creativity fly… In Telluride, the Ah Haa is our artopia.” Friday’s Artopia stands as the Ah Haa’s signature event, its most important fundraising gala as well as the must-attend social event of Telluride’s summer.
“We’re trying to create that funky, euphoric, psychedelic atmosphere” befitting an artopia, Lee says of tomorrow’s event. Artopia will provide heavy hors d'oeuvres, three cash bars, DJ Ryan spinning tunes, a groovy downstairs lounge featuring the art of ex-Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann – even stilt-walkers – all in addition to the acme of the Artopia experience, the art itself.
“The pieces that have been arriving at the school in the past week [for the auction] have absolutely floored me,” Lee says of the 130 different paintings, original prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, and more, many of which were created by local artists. The silent auction starts at 5 p.m., and the live auction will begin at 7 p.m.
Live auction specialty pieces include such hot-ticket items as a mosaic chair crafted by local artisan Flair Robinson; a prayer flag depicting Wilson Peak from Susie Billings; one of Ally Crilly’s elephant paintings; a numinous photograph of a Kenyan tea farm from Ben Knight; an oil painting from Julee Hutchison; a piece from Brooklyn photographer Tait Simpson’s work; and much more.
Two of the most exciting live auction pieces come from local artists John Hubbard and Nicole Finger. Hubbard crafted a custom Valley Cow cruiser, complete with udders and cowbell; Finger has once again created a stunning painted dress, this year echoing the famous painting by Gustav Klimt, “The Kiss.”
Local ski manufacturer Wagner Custom has also partnered with Artopia’s celebrity artist, Bill Kreutzmann, to come up with a pair of custom skis for this year’s auction. And, as always, there will be the custom “art car” up for bid.
In addition to the art, there will be a number of goods and services available in both the live and silent auctions. Trips to Costa Rica, New Orleans, and Santa Fe, gift certificates from Cashmere Red and Bliss and Bang Bang Salon, and many more will be on the auction block.
And speaking of the auction… this year’s Ah Haa live auction is sure to live up to its reputation as a lively, action-packed event thanks to auction personalities Jeb Berrier, who will be the MC, and professional auctioneer Doug Carpenter, president of the Colorado Auctioneers Society.
“We’ll have some local personalities up on the stage, and some really fun and unique items mixed in with the art [for the auction.] It should provide the typical charged, fun energy,” says Lauren Metzger, Ah Haa marketing and exhibitions manager.
The Ah Haa Annual Art Auction is the school’s largest and most important operational fundraiser, Lee explains. Money raised during the evening supports programs and workshops including scholarships, supplies, equipment, instructors, visiting artists, operational fees and more. “It’s what keeps us running,” Lee says.
Tickets cost $20 and will be available to purchase at the Farmer’s Market Friday on Oak Street, or at the Ah Haa School located at 300 South Townsend. Look for the tent.
Absentee bidding is also available for those not able to make the event on Friday. Forms are available online and will be accepted until 5 p.m. on July 23; visit www.ahhaa.org. Completed forms may also be faxed to 970/728-9709 or delivered to the Ah Haa School.
For more information, call Ah Haa at 970/728-3886.