An impressive range of paintings, sculptures and other fine works by celebrated artists, including Hobart and William Smith faculty and alums, will be featured at a fine art auction and gala hosted for the benefit of the historic Smith Opera House. The fundraiser, Lights! Camera! Auction!, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 7 at The Smith, located at 82 Seneca St. in downtown Geneva.
The auction will feature nearly two-dozen spectacular works of art provided by donation thanks to the generosity of private collectors and artists. The auction catalog offers a complete list of available works. Check back for updates as new pieces are continually being added to the catalog.
The gala will kick off at 5 p.m., with the live auction beginning at 6:15 p.m. in the Smith theatre. Tickets are $20 and are available at TheSmith.org, at the venue box office or by calling (315) 781-5483. For those who can’t attend in person, absentee bidding is a great option to show support and stay involved. Absentee bids can be placed by calling Hessney Auction Company, the auction house for the fundraiser, at (315) 789-9349 or by emailing email@example.com. Absentee bids should be placed no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6.
Highlighting the enduring connections between The Smith and the HWS community, auction-goers and absentee bidders will have the chance to acquire works by Professor of Art and Architecture Mark Jones ’72, P’14, painter and photographer; Professor of Art and Architecture A.E. Ted Aub, sculptor; Professor of Art and Architecture Nick Ruth, printmaker and painter; Professor of Art and Architecture Phillia Yi, printmaker and painter; and the late Professor Emeritus of Art John Loftus P’75, P’76, P’91, painter; as well as pieces by sculptor Andrew Hellmund ’14 and painter Jenny Wu ’12.
In addition to HWS faculty and alums, other featured artists include: C.W. Anderson, Stacy Barter, Richard Beale, Dexter Benedict, William Bruce, Stan Burns, Bruce Campbell, Sam Castner, Stuart Crandell, Alan Singer, Roland Stevens, and George Van Hook, among others.
For more than a century, the Smith Opera House has been a mainstay of downtown and a presence in the lives of HWS community members. It was built in 1894 by local philanthropist and nurseryman, William Smith, the founder of William Smith College.
“More than 120 years later and we are able to celebrate the art of HWS faculty and alums as well as area artists – and share that beauty with the community,” says Sally Webster ’74, a co-organizer of the event and former board member of the Smith Center for the Arts.
Webster says the fundraiser serves as an opportunity to rally people together in support of the venue, while celebrating its beauty and the vibrant – and many – connections it has created for art, music, theatre and dance in Geneva.
“The Smith is such a beautiful place and we are just so thankful to have it here in the community,” says Jan Regan, secretary of the Smith Center for the Arts Board of Directors and co-organizer of the event. “This is a wonderful way to show support.”
Among the many items that can be acquired during the auction is a study of a large-scale wall painting by Loftus in downtown Geneva. A 1977 article about Loftus and the work, “Abstraction of a View of Seneca Lake,” appeared in the Geneva Times. Loftus’ distinguished career included a prestigious Creative Artists Public Service grant by New York State Council on the Arts, a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship.
Works from the collections of Dr. George Abraham ’59 as well as Professor Emeritus of Sociology Jim Spates and Jennifer Morris, retired director of the region’s four-county Pioneer Library System, will also be available to bidders.
At the auction, attendees have the chance to participate in a unique giving opportunity called “Fund the House.” The auctioneer will announce different amounts and bidders can raise their card to donate at a level that is meaningful to them. Funds raised during this portion of the auction will go toward general improvements to The Smith for the benefit of future generations of theatre-goers.
During the Lights! Camera! Auction! fundraiser, there will also be live music and a cocktail hour as well as a raffle and silent auction. For the event, the Smith Center for the Arts will also make available replica posters advertising Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 concert at the Smith. On the evening before the event, there will be an unveiling of a new sculptural work by Castner, an area sculptor who is contributing to the auction his piece, “Tranquil Vibrations.”
Co-organizers for the event include: Kelly Bradley, executive director of The Smith Center for the Arts; Mara O’Laughlin ’66, L.H.D.’13, a member of the Smith Center for the Arts Board of Directors; and Mitchell Wilber, treasurer of the Smith Center for the Arts Board of Directors. The event is being organized in conjunction with Joe and Carrie Hessney, of Hessney Auction Company. Sponsors include: InHouse Design, Hessney Auction Company, The Frame Shop, and Jan Regan Photography.